Labour vows to investigate carer’s allowance scandal

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Unpaid carers being near pinch crippling debts and threatened pinch prosecution aft Department for Work and Pensions overpayments is “unforgivable” and would beryllium investigated by a Labour government, nan protector activity and pensions secretary, Liz Kendall, told nan Guardian.

Speaking connected a sojourn to meet pensioners successful nan Labour target spot of Thurrock successful Essex, Kendall urged voters who felt nan statement was not being bold capable to position nan party’s promises arsenic conscionable nan steps successful a 10-year plan.

Kendall said she was horrified by revelations unearthed by nan Guardian’s investigation into carer’s allowance, which showed tens of thousands of unpaid carers who were looking aft abnormal aliases frail relatives had recovered they owed immense sums to nan government without warning, aft unwittingly breaching net rules by a fewer pounds a week.

She said location was nary logic why a strategy could not beryllium put successful spot to instantly alert group if they breached nan strict net threshold, which intends they are nary longer entitled to nan benefit.

“That will beryllium an absolute privilege for maine because these are group who are perfectly astatine breaking point, looking aft nan group they love, pinch precious small thief and support successful return,” she said. “Any repayments … person to beryllium done successful a adjacent way. You will cognize that we person to spot what nan business is if we get into government, to look astatine each of nan information astir what is happening. But we request to put nan strategy correct for nan long-term.”

Kendall said she was concerned errors could still beryllium happening. “If you spell successful your overdraft, your slope instantly tells you, we should beryllium capable to do that for these payments. I cognize group will beryllium perfectly hopeless astir it. And I want to make judge we do everything to put it right.”

The Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has already committed to reforming nan carer’s allowance strategy successful nan party’s manifesto.

Kendall, who has precocious returned to nan domiciled aft 2 months disconnected for a regular hep replacement, said she was encountering an electorate pinch very small dream for what either statement could connection them.

Liz Kendall speaking to pensioners successful Thurrock.
Liz Kendall speaking to pensioners successful Thurrock. Photograph: Rhiannon James/PA

She said that nan statement had acold bolder plans to execute complete 2 position of a Labour authorities – but said nan measurement to triumph backmost spot was to beryllium cautious pinch nationalist finances and only committedness what could beryllium achieved.

“I retrieve successful 1997 erstwhile we promised to return 100,000 group disconnected nan waiting list, tons of group said well, that’s obscurity adjacent enough. But by nan clip we near office, we had ended waiting, done finance and reform,” she said. “It is really, really important that group spot this [campaign] arsenic first steps.”

She said nan authorities of nan system – and her imaginable task astatine nan caput of nan government’s biggest spending section – kept her up astatine night. “Of people it does. I’ve been an MP for 14 years and I cognize really overmuch group person suffered. I cognize they are perfectly connected their knees.

“Somebody present [in Thurrock] said there’s truthful overmuch incorrect that you sewage to put right. We understand that, but I deliberation group besides recognise it can’t alteration immediately.”

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Kendall said nan biggest conflict nan statement was fighting was despair from voters that immoderate alteration was possible, moreover from Labour. “People person had nan dream kicked retired of them,” she said. “I’ve been each complete nan state since nan predetermination has been called and location are truthful galore group who either don’t judge we tin make alteration aliases who conscionable don’t know.

“And that is our challenge. I person ne'er believed nan polls. I cognize people’s frustrations. I really do. But we will show those first steps, arsenic portion of a 10-year strategy to renew nan country. That is simply a situation that we face.”

Thurrock, which has a Conservative mostly of 11,000 is 1 of a slew of battleground seats successful Kent and Essex pinch older populations which Tories are attempting to clasp pinch promises to older voters, including a promise to protect nan authorities pension from income tax.

Older group speaking to Kendall astatine nan organization centre said they had acold wider ranging concerns – including rising rents, power bills, NHS waiting lists and caring for abnormal relatives.

New study from Labour recovered that taxation thresholds stiff nether nan Conservatives person already costs pensioners £1,000 much connected mean and that nan caller Tory promise would manus backmost conscionable a 3rd of what had already been taxed.

“There are doubly arsenic galore complete 65s paying taxation successful nan people of this government’s 14 years,” Kendall said. “And that’s what pensioners present are saying; they’re paying much tax. We person nan highest taxation load for 70 years, and the costs of surviving is going up and up and up, higher costs of food, higher costs of substance that is failing Britain’s pensioners. They request alteration and that’s what Labour’s offering.”

Source theguardian