Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South, has spoken out at Westminster about the need to offer carers exemptions from hospital car parking charges. Barbara is Shadow Minister for Carers and she was speaking in support of the Hospital Car Parking Charges (Exemption for Carers) Bill introduced by Burnley MP Julie Cooper.
Although the Government did not support the Bill fully the Care Minister, Alistair Burt, did announce that he was amending government guidance to hospitals to ask them to grant concessions to carers voluntarily.
“Although the Government’s concessions are welcome I believe they do not go far enough.
This is a missed opportunity to support carers better. If the Bill had progressed it would have made a significant difference to carers in Salford. Exempting carers from hospital car parking costs would have shown that we understand the financial difficulties associated with caring.
“Charging to park at hospital adds stress to the lives of carers and takes money out of their purses and pockets. Having to pay anywhere between £11 and £131 a week in hospital parking charges it is no way to reward unpaid family carers for the vital contribution they make when accompanying the person they care for in hospital..
“I hope that local hospitals used by patients and carers in Salford will implement the new guidance and help to make carers lives a little easier by making concessions to charge them less or to exempt them from hospital car parking charges.”