Carer's Leave Bill giving 2.4 million carers right to unpaid leave passes final hurdle

19 May 2023

Campaigners for carers in Hinckley and Bosworth have welcomed a new Bill becoming law which will give 2.4 million carers the right to unpaid leave.

The Carer's Leave Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain reached its final parliamentary stage today in the House of Lords. The Bill, which has been described by the charity Carers UK as a 'landmark' piece of legislation, has cross-party support and was passed.

The Bill will give an estimated 2.4 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year, helping carers to better balance work and care.

Wendy Chamberlain introduced the Carer's Leave Bill last June after winning a place in the Private Member's Bill lottery. It has enjoyed cross-party support and has passed all its parliamentary stages unopposed so far. It will move onto Royal Assent to become law.

The Bill was backed by Hinckley and Bosworth Council last November when Lib Dem Councillor Michael Mullaney proposed the Council backed the Carers Leave Bill and this call was passed by the Council.

Michael Mullaney said "I'm delighted that this Bill has got through parliament. Here in Hinckley and Bosworth thousands of carers do tremendous work.

"Not only do these hard working carers give vital care and support to loved ones, they also save the public huge amounts of money with the work they do. The very least these devoted carers deserve is the right to unpaid leave for caring responsibilities."

"I'm glad Hinckley and Bosworth Council was able to support the Carers Leave Bill and I'm delighted that it is going to become law imminently."

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said:

"Unpaid carers are the backbone of our society. I said that at the beginning of this process almost a year ago, and I believe it even more strongly today. Millions of people care for loved ones, doing everything from day-to-day physical caring, washing, dressing and feeding for those who cannot care for themselves, to things like shopping for a housebound elderly relative.

"Yet far too many unpaid carers go without adequate support and struggle to balance caring responsibilities and work. I have met with and heard from carers in North East Fife and across the country, and many have made the difficult decision to leave their jobs because they simply can't make it work.

"My Carer's Leave Bill is a first step to providing greater support. It will allow carers to take time off work to manage caring responsibilities. I hope that it will provide many people with the flexibility they need.

"I am also confident that the law will have benefits for employers too. Many businesses already provide a version of Carer's Leave to their staff and report reduced recruitment costs, and improved retention and wellbeing."

A Hinckley County Councillor has renewed calls for a safe road crossing to be installed near a Hinckley School.

Lib Dem Councillor for Hinckley De Montfort Michael Mullaney has campaigned with local parents, residents and fellow Hinckley Councillors David Bill and Stuart Bray to get a safe crossing near St Peter’s School on London Road, Hinckley.

This follows news that Leicestershire County Council have again decided against putting a crossing there.

In a written submission to the County Council’s Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee Michael Mullaney set out why a crossing was still needed there

“A huge number of residents in the area I represent on the County Council and the area my two fellow Hinckley County Councillors David Bill and Stuart Bray represent support a safe crossing at St Peter’s School on London Road in Hinckley. 8,850 residents signed a petition supporting the campaign.

“There are safety concerns, there have been a number of near misses involving pupils and parents going to the school. Although not recorded it is believed that there was an accident leading to a fatality some years ago along this part of London Road when a pedestrian was knocked over.

“Whilst I appreciate the extra road safety measures that are proposed for London Road near St Peter’s School I am extremely disappointed that the request for a safe road crossing has not been supported in the report.

“There is widespread support for it and Cllrs Bill, Bray and myself identified funding for putting a crossing in at the site through the Members Highway Fund, a fund which was developed with the apparent intention of supporting Highways causes that were important in Councillor’s local areas.

“Whilst it’s welcome that a crossing person has been recruited for St Peter’s School there is always the risk that the person may step down from the job and it may be difficult to find a new person (as it took some years to recruit a crossing person there, with no school crossing patrol between 2017 and 2022 despite attempts to recruit to the post).  A safe pedestrian crossing at the site however would be a permanent safety measure that would benefit pupils and parents and residents more generally crossing the road there.

“Whilst I welcome the fact there will be some safety improvements at the site I and many residents believe there still needs to be a safe permanent crossing at St Peter’s School. I therefore urge the County Council to rethink and agree to installing a crossing near St Peter’s School”

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