Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Lib Dem election video broadcast highlights issues faced by carers

Party leader Sir Ed Davey has called for ‘change’ to the wider care system (Alamy/PA)
Party leader Sir Ed Davey has called for ‘change’ to the wider care system (Alamy/PA)

Unpaid carers who have unknowingly received more allowance than they were entitled to face “persecution”, a carer has said.

In the Liberal Democrats’ second broadcast video of the General Election campaign, party leader Sir Ed Davey called for “change” to the wider care system.

The party has also called for an “amnesty to carers being hounded for overpayments by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)”.

Sir Ed Davey, wearing a chef's hat for a cookery lesson, speaks to a child at a school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire
Sir Ed Davey has raised the issue of being a carer (Yui Mok/PA)

Among the other parties, the Conservatives have promised to “stand behind our carers” in their manifesto and the Green Party has called for an “end to the unfair targeting of carers and disabled people on benefits” among its pledges.

In the broadcast fronted by Sir Ed, the party leader asked an unpaid carer: “It’s basically a full-time job for you, isn’t it?”

The carer, whose name does not feature in the clip, said: “It can be, yes.

“I went back to work more for my mental health, just because I felt I was just trapped here all the time.”

Sitting in a back garden, Sir Ed said: “You came to see me about the way that the DWP say you were overpaid on carer’s allowance.”

The carer replied: “£4,612.”

She added: “It’s stressful enough being a carer without being told that you’ve been fraudulent and you’ve been earning too much money.

“I earn less than £7,000 a year.

“This persecution of unpaid carers is a scandal and it needs to stop.”

Sir Ed later said: “You know, if you’re going to have a fair deal in our country where people who work hard, care for their loved ones, stick by the rules, don’t get suddenly penalised, we’ve got to change things.”

The party leader also met Morag from Glasgow on camera, who was going through her fourth cancer when the party shot its video, and another carer and A-level student in London.

Unpaid carers who look after someone for at least 35 hours a week are entitled to receive carer’s allowance, but they are only eligible if they earn less than £151 per week after tax.

If they breach this strict cap – which could include overtime payments – their whole allowance is marked as an overpayment which they must hand back to the Government.

According to the Government’s response to a written question by Labour’s Sir Stephen Timms, 134,800 people had an outstanding carer’s allowance debt on May 14 this year – to a value of £251 million.

In 2019 the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee looked into overpayments and found “carers can be heavily penalised when they make honest mistakes”.

A report into the issue reads: “If a claimant fails to report a rise in their earnings of even £1 which takes them above the weekly threshold, the department would effectively be overpaying them by £66.15 a week.

“This is compounded by the fact that the department has, for many years, allowed overpayments to build up because of administrative failures and a prolonged lack of resources.

“The department has belatedly decided to remedy its past failures, but pursuing these debts can be costly for both the department and the carers affected.”

A 2024 report by the DWP found 3% of current carer’s allowance claimants had experienced an overpayment.

“Not all claimants who had experienced overpayments were sure of the reason for it and some felt there could have been clearer and more compassionate communication around it from the DWP,” researchers found.

In addition to an “amnesty” for carers who have experienced overpayment, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to raise carer’s allowance by £1,040 a year.

The party has also pledged to introduce a young carers pupil premium which “would provide more money for schools to help the estimated 54,000 young people currently balancing their caring responsibilities with their education” – in addition to the existing pupil premium for disadvantaged pupils in state-funded schools in England.

Party campaigners used their first election broadcast to discuss Sir Ed’s own experience caring for his mother – who died aged 46 – as a teenager and then his son John as an adult.

The Conservative Party’s manifesto reads: “We hugely value the work that unpaid carers do supporting their loved ones.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks at a lectern which bears the words: 'Clear Plan, Bold Action, Secure Future'
Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched his party’s manifesto on Tuesday (James Manning/PA)

“We have increased carer’s allowance by almost £1,500 since 2010 and given employees who are also unpaid carers entitlement to a period of unpaid leave.

“We will continue to stand behind our carers.”

The Green Party’s manifesto reads: “To address the social care crisis, elected Greens will push for: free personal care to ensure dignity in old age and for disabled people; increased pay rates and a career structure for carers to rebuild the care workforce; investment of £20 billion per year.”

Labour is set to release its manifesto on Thursday.