Yesterday Preet Kaur Gill MP joined leading alcohol treatment providers and charities at an event in Parliament, organised by the Alcohol and Families Alliance, to hear about the ways in which family carers for problematic drinkers can and should be supported.
The Alcohol and Families Alliance is calling on MPs to ensure that those caring for family members with alcohol problems get the support that they need.
Lack of information, shame and stigma associated with heavy drinking mean that people caring for problematic drinkers, or for the children of problematic drinkers, often don’t know about the rights and benefits available to them.
The AFA also argue that the level of Carer’s Allowance should be increased to meet the needs of those caring as a result of addiction. Nearly four in every ten carers struggle to make ends meet. Unpaid adult carers in the UK provide care worth an estimated £56.9 billion a year and yet Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind - £64.60 per week compared to £73.10 for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston is supporting the Alliance’s campaign to ensure family carers are better supported.
At the AFA Fair Preet Gill heard from family members affected by a loved one’s alcohol use, including Shadow Secretary of State for Health Jonathan Ashworth MP, George Freeman MP and Liam Byrne MP, each of whom drew on personal experience to speak movingly of the harm caused to families by alcohol.
There are an estimated 589,101 problem drinkers in England, and for every one of those there are likely to be a number of family members suffering along with them. One in five people in England have been harmed by somebody else’s drinking over the past year.