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Carers UK response to Gordon Brown's announcement

03 September 2007

Carers UK has welcomed Gordon Brown's announcement of a new Standing Commission on Carers. Read Carers UK's response.

Chief Executive of Carers UK Imelda Redmond says:

"How we support carers is one of the great challenges facing our society. As the population ages and more people are living with disabilities, most of us will at some point need to provide care to a family member, friend or neighbour. Currently, too, many carers are risking their own health, income and future prospects, despite fulfilling this crucial role in society.

Carers UK is therefore delighted that Gordon Brown has given carers such a high profile and that he has set up this new Commission. The Prime Minister's meeting with Carers UK member, Jill Pay, and her family in February this year when he launched the review of the National Carers Strategy has obviously had a lasting impact on him. Carers around the country will be encouraged that their concerns are being listened to.

The Commission will have a vital role to play in the coming years. We need to constantly evaluate new evidence and new policies to support carers. We need to find long-term solutions to prevent poor health, poverty and social isolation. Society is changing, yet many of our policies for carers were designed in the 1970s. A Standing Commission is the best way to bring in new ideas and devise new solutions.

One of the key areas that the Commission should look at is the financial support available to carers. The benefit system currently does not support carers to work and condemns many to poverty. We need a radical overhaul of the benefits system and the ways in which we support carers to remain in work.

I am delighted that Philippa Russell will be taking this proposal forward alongside Minister for Carers, Ivan Lewis MP. Philippa has been an outstanding advocate for carers and I know she will relish this new challenge."

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