Unpaid Carers

1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Jayne Bryant Jayne Bryant Labour


7. Will the First Minister provide an update on the Welsh Government’s commitment to supporting unpaid carers? OQ60717

Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour 2:28, 20 February 2024

Llywydd, the Welsh Government remains committed to supporting all unpaid carers in Wales, ensuring that they are aware of their rights, as outlined in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Since January 2022, we have allocated £42 million of additional funding to support unpaid carers.

Photo of Jayne Bryant Jayne Bryant Labour 2:29, 20 February 2024

Diolch, Prif Weinidog. I'd like to welcome that additional funding in this area as well. Yesterday, the Wales carers assembly was held in Tŷ Hywel here in the Senedd. Organised by Carers Wales, the event was attended by unpaid carers from across the country. I'd like to put on record my thanks to those unpaid carers, who raised many important questions throughout the day, including on health, social care and employment.

I joined a panel discussion focusing on how carers balance employment and caring responsibilities. Striking this balance is very difficult for many unpaid carers, and it has a significant impact on their mental health and well-being, as well as individual and family finances. Prif Weinidog, what is the Welsh Government doing to support carers of any age, whether to stay in work, return to work, or to pursue new employment opportunities and continue to care for their loved ones?

Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour 2:30, 20 February 2024

Well, Llywydd, I thank Jayne Bryant for that, and for the part she played in yesterday's event. I know it was addressed by the Deputy Minister with responsibility for services for unpaid carers. And the panel that the Member for Newport West took part in, Llywydd, I thought was a particularly important part of the programme. We talk about 'unpaid carers': they're unpaid for the care they do, but they're often working at the same time. And in an economy that has fewer people now working in it than prior to 2016, we know we have to do more to enable people who would like to be in the workforce, but are prevented by their domestic circumstances from being able to make that contribution. And that focus on the economically inactive, as they're rather inelegantly called, is a really important priority for the Minister for Economy.

So, you can be sure that, across the Welsh Government, we are looking for ways in which we can make it easier for people who are not currently in the productive economy, but who would like to be, to be able to make that participation. And people who have caring responsibilities are very much part of that. It will rely, we know, on employers recognising the adjustments that they need to make in the workplace in order to be able to attract those people who are often skilful, experienced, and have a great deal to offer, given the opportunity to do so.

Photo of Elin Jones Elin Jones Plaid Cymru


—question 8, Mark Isherwood