MP fights for free hospital parking for carers

Burnley MP Julie Cooper has launched a new national campaign to Park the Charges for Carers.

Julie Cooper and her parking charges campaign (s)
Julie Cooper and her parking charges campaign (s)

Mrs Cooper has linked up with Carers UK and will propose new legislation to exempt carers eligible for Carer’s Allowance from hospital parking charges in England.

The Burnley MP said: “Hospital car parking charges place an unfair burden on carers. Many of my constituents and carers across the country have told us that the emotional and financial impact of hospital parking charges seriously undermines their ability to continue caring well for their loved ones and themselves.

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“This could be catastrophic for the NHS which, without carers, wouldn’t survive. The cost of providing carers with free hospital parking in England is negligible when compared with these potential consequences.

“With the huge demographic and financial challenges facing the NHS, it has never been more important to support carers. That is why I have put forward this Bill, urging politicians and health bosses alike to listen to what carers are telling them and park the charges for carers.”

Around 10,000 in Burnley currently care for an older, disabled or seriously-ill loved one and, should this Carers Bill be successful, it will exempt 2,150 carers who are currently in receipt of, or who are eligible for, Carer’s Allowance from paying car parking charges in hospitals in England which average £2 an hour, £5.50 a day or £19 per week in North West hospitals.

Burnley constituent Christine McKenzie, who is a former unpaid carer, said: “As a carer, I often spent weeks, sometimes months, visiting various hospitals which had a serious emotional and financial impact on me.

“As a former carer, I think it’s diabolical that unpaid carers are expected to pay high parking charges when we have to access vital services – after all, we don’t choose to go to hospital, it is a necessity.”

The Park the Charges for Carers campaign aims to drive public and political support for Julie Cooper MP’s Hospital Parking Charges (Exemption for Carers) Bill 2015-16, ahead of the Bill’s second reading in Parliament on October 30th.

People can show their support for the Bill by visiting the Park the Charges for Carers campaign website at