During a debate on the government’s social care strategy on 22nd March 2023, the Archbishop of York asked a question on reforming the social care workforce, emphasising the need to value care workers:
The Lord Archbishop of York: My Lords, the report by the Archbishops’ Commission on Reimagining Care was published in January. I am sure that the Minister is aware of this: in fact, I know that he is having a meeting later today with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Carlisle, who co-chaired that commission. We argue for a very bold approach to social care, which puts at its heart the concept of a care covenant, with clear expectations on each of us of what we should give and expect in return, recognising that each of us is a carer and that most of us will need care one day.
The Bishop of Leicester spoke in support of the Carer’s Leave Bill in its second reading on 3rd March 2023, drawing attention to the recommendations raised by the Archbishops’ Commission on Reimagining Care:
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I am pleased to speak in wholehearted support of this Bill. It has been a pleasure to hear other speeches and to receive briefings on this significant area of our common life. I look forward to hearing other speeches and thank those who have introduced the Bill.
The Bill is an important step forward in showing carers that although their efforts may not be waged, they are very much valued. It might not go as far as could be hoped, as the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, has said, in that it provides for unpaid rather than paid leave, but it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
I see three key features of this Bill: first, the provision of leave for anyone with caring responsibilities, not just those who care for people in their household; secondly, guaranteeing this leave as a day one right; and thirdly, allowing for it to be taken flexibly. These three features show that the Bill recognises the variety of unpaid carers on whom society depends and the distinct challenges they face.
The Bishop of Carlisle asked the following question on 19th July 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, we are all aware of the huge contribution to the nation’s health and economy made by unpaid carers, including those who combine caring responsibilities with other paid employment.
This issue is currently being explored by both the Select Committee of your Lordships’ House and an Archbishops’ Commission. Does the Minister agree that, whenever possible, as well as paid or unpaid leave, flexible working arrangements for those with caring responsibilities are in everybody’s best interests?
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