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National charity Grandparents Plus have warmly welcomed the inclusion of grandparents and family carers within Liberal Democrat policy for paid leave entitlement.
The charity believes this is the first time that grandparents have been recognised within party policy as playing a vital role in children’s lives and is delighted to see the amendment included within the next election manifesto.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, congratulates the party as its conference continues in Glasgow this week, saying:
“This is a significant step forward on the road to recognition for grandparents and other family members who step in to raise children, usually in tragic circumstances, when parents can no longer do so.”
“The Lib Dems are in tune with public opinion on this issue. It’s time the other parties caught up and ensured this deserving group are properly recognised and supported.”
Such a policy is an important step forwards in the charity’s campaign to see grandparents who have stepped in to raise a child given more help, in practice giving them more access to the statutory agencies that are available to fostered and adopted children.
Gordon Lishman, Liberal Democrat policy adviser and former chief executive of Age Concern said:
“I was delighted to be able to move this amendment at conference on behalf of Burnley Lib Dems. It received overwhelming support and shows that the time is ripe for change. It is good to see the Liberal Democrats leading the way on this important and neglected issue.”
Grandparents Plus estimate there to be 200,000 grandparents and family carers raising around 300,000 youngsters in the UK, with 47 per cent of family carers having to give up their employment in order to bring up children who often have traumatic backgrounds, such as abuse, neglect or bereavement.