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Saturday 22nd October 2016

More financial help for carers

29th August 2008

MPs have called for more financial help to be given to the six million unpaid carers across the UK.

Old Hands

Members of the Commons work and pensions committee has recommended changes in the way people who look after relatives and friends are compensated for the time they give.

Such care, they said, saves the taxpayer £87 billion a year.

The Carer’s Allowance is £50.55 a week but in its report – Valuing and Supporting Carers - the committee recommends a scheme of income replacement for those unable to work because of their commitments, and compensation for costs incurred during "intensive" caring.

The MPs expressed disappointment that the subject had not been directly addressed in the Government’s Carers Strategy launched earlier this year.

Committee chairman Terry Rooney, said: "Caring matters deeply to individuals, families and society in general. Sustaining the ability of carers to provide the care and support they give to others is of critical importance."

Citizens Advice welfare policy officer Vicky Pearlman, who gave evidence to the committee, said the system was outdated and needed to be overhauled.

Chief executive of campaign group Carers UK Imelda Redmond, said: "The two-tier benefit recommended by the committee would be a major improvement to the current system.

"Carers need a separate benefit which recognises that they are not unemployed but are making an important contribution to society."

Minister for the disabled Anne McGuire said the government was working with employers to ensure that carers can have a better balance between their work and caring responsibilities.


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