Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield's challenge to government over plight of young carers who are "hidden from view"

Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield will today confront Ministers over the hidden plight of young carers in the UK.

Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 10:29 am
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield

In a debate in Parliament, the Labour shadow Minister will urge the Government to provide more support for young people looking after family members through schools and local NHS services.

The more proactive approach was recommended to Theresa May by some young carers from Sheffield, when Mr Blomfield took them to meet the Prime Minister eight months ago.

Following the meeting, Number 10 promised a review into the issue. Today Sheffield Central MP Mr Blomfield will press Ministers on what progress has been made.

He will also describe the experiences of young carers he has met in his role as patron of local charity Sheffield Young Carers.

But he will also warn MPs that the young people who he has encountered are “among the lucky ones.

“Because they’ve made contact with Sheffield Young Carers, of which I’m proud to be patron, they are getting tremendous support and the opportunity to meet and share their experience with others in the same position.

“But most young carers are hidden from view.”

One in 12 children and young people in the UK are taking on mid to high level care for a family member, and their average age is just 12 years old.

They often experience financial hardship as the average annual income for a family with a young carer is £5,000 lower.

And they suffer further difficulties linked to their caring role, with 68 per cent experiencing bullying at schools and 45 per cent reporting mental health problems.

Speaking ahead of the Westminster Hall debate, Mr Blomfield said: “Young carers are incredible in the way that they juggle caring responsibilities with education and everything else in their lives.

“Sheffield Young Carers offers great support and provides its members with a voice, but there’s a lot more that could be done. There are also many young carers who are hidden and unsupported.

“I’ll be telling the Government what needs to be done to reach all young people in this position, and how they can be helped better.”