“Give carers a break”, Lib Dems say, while Church advocates empowerment of women workers

By Lucy Ashton

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today launch the party’s campaign to “give carers a break”, calling on the Government to give councils immediate emergency funding so they can provide the support services unpaid carers need to take a weekly break.

In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, Ed Davey highlights research from Carers UK showing that:

  • 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic,
  • 74% feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and
  • 44% say they are reaching breaking point.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor to provide local authorities with emergency funding in his Budget on 3rd March at the latest, with a fair Barnett share allocated for Scotland.

Ahead of the campaign launch, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:  “People looking after their loved ones during Covid are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.

“Unpaid carers have taken on dramatically increased caring responsibilities. Most haven’t been able to take a single break since the pandemic started. Most are simply exhausted.

“Our wonderful carers deserve more support, but they are too often forgotten and ignored by people in power.

“The Chancellor mustn’t ignore carers any longer. He must provide local councils with emergency funding now, to finally give carers a break.

“Liberal Democrats are standing up for carers and working to build a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic.”

Meanwhile, as the Scottish Government and local councils dither on the subject of pay and recognition for female care workers, nurses, doctors and other front-line NHS staff, the Catholic Church in Europe the important topic of women’s economic empowerment.

The desire to protect and to promote the real equality of every human person and the acknowledgement of the “complementarity of women and men” which the Church states “remain important priorities of the Holy See”.

A new report states that the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church notes with distress that “the persistence of many forms of discrimination offensive to the dignity and vocation of women in the area of work is due to a long series of conditioning that penalises women, who have seen “their prerogatives misrepresented” and themselves “relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude”.

The late Pope Saint John Paul, pictured with Dumbarton priest Monsignor Dan Hart, who advocated equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, and equality of spouses with regard to family rights.

Therefore, it adds, as Saint John Paul II spelled out clearly, there is “an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens in a democratic State.

“The increased economic and political empowerment of women and the promotion of their participation in public life will surely contribute to increased peace and security within both society at large and, in many cases, within the fundamental cell of society, which is the family unit.”

However, it sums up: “The current pandemic has confirmed that women’s participation in the labour market is still fragile.

“Women are often the first to lose their jobs, especially when working in low paid employment or in the informal sector where they are the majority and where financial protection and benefits are lacking. In addition to this, the burden of home schooling has increased pressure on women, regardless whether they are in paid work or not.

“Building a better future requires the complementary collaboration of men and women. The empowerment of women, in every area of life and work, will not only strengthen women, but will strengthen and empower security, stability and sustainable development.”


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