To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the rate of the carer’s allowance to match the rate of jobseeker’s allowance.
22 July 2019
This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society.
The information requested on the cost to the public purse of increasing the rate of Carer’s Allowance to that of Jobseeker’s Allowance is not available but an indicative cost can be calculated using data published on StatXplore and gov.uk.
The current rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance for those aged 25 and over is £73.10. The difference between this and the rate of Carer’s Allowance (currently £66.15 a week) is £6.95. As of November 2018, there were approximately 780,000 claimants receiving Carer’s Allowance in England and Wales. Thus, paying an additional £6.95 a week to carers in England and Wales would cost in the region of £280m a year. Carer’s Allowance has been devolved to the Scottish Government since September 2018 and is delivered in Scotland by DWP for an interim period under an Agency Agreement.
The Government also provides targeted financial support for carers on low incomes through income-related benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Income Support. In April 2019, the additional amount for carers in receipt of Pension Credit and Income Support increased to £36.85 a week. The Universal Credit carer element increased to £160.20 per monthly assessment period. Universal Credit also adjusts to fluctuating earnings and periods when paid employment is not feasible, for example due to caring responsibilities. The Government is committed to helping carers balance providing care with their own paid employment where this is possible, as indicated in the Carers Action Plan.