Carers in England should be entitled to free parking passes that they can use while visiting the people they look after, says MP Damien Moore.
The Southport Conservative MP wants carers to be able to park without charge in either council-owned car parks or on-street parking spaces without the worry of returning to find a parking ticket.
Mr Moore initially contacted Sefton Council to request that they provide parking passes for carers in areas including Southport, Formby, Crosby and Bootle.
He has now written to the Department for Health and Social Care asking if additional, ring-fenced funding could be issued to local authorities in England, such as Sefton Council, specifically to fund free parking passes for carers.
Mr Moore said: “Carers are facing extreme financial difficulty due to the combination of low pay in the sector, and the need to pay for regular parking during home visits.
“Whilst some care agencies do refund staff for the money they pay for parking whilst attending the homes of the people they care for, it is often the case that both parking and mileage costs come out-of-pocket direct from the carer.
“They can pay for up to 20 half-hour parking tickets in a day, costing around 90p per ticket.
“This does, of course, add up, especially for those who are already earning close to the minimum wage.
“Added to this there are cases where a carer will pay for a half-hour parking ticket, but once arriving at their client’s house find that they need to call an ambulance. The ambulance can take a few hours to arrive, during which time a carer cannot leave their client to top-up their parking ticket, and so often they receive parking penalty charges leading to a lengthy challenge process.
“HMRC already offers tax relief on mileage incurred for work purposes, but there is currently no scheme in place to help with parking charges.
“I contacted Sefton Council last Summer to see whether a parking pass can be issued to carers within Southport, which would allow them to park for free in council-operated parking spaces. Unfortunately they said that financially this would not be feasible for them to do.
“In Southport we have many, many care homes and elderly residents and hundreds of carers. It is vital that we try and support them as much as we can.
“I have now written to the Department for Health and Social Care asking if additional, ring-fenced funding could be issued to local authorities in England, such as Sefton Council, specifically to fund free parking passes in council-maintained car parks and on-street parking.
“I hope the Department will carefully consider the important role that carers play in our community and look to see what help they can afford them.”