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Success in Tax Credit fight to protect carers

21 March 2012

Following a joint campaign with other family charities and unions, Carers UK has welcomed a Government decision to exempt carers from changes to Working Tax Credit which could have resulted in the loss of almost £4,000 a year in tax credits.

As part of changes to Working Tax Credits, the Government had announced that, from April 2012, couples with children would have to work 24 hours a week between them, rather than the current level of 16 hours a week, in order to qualify for Working Tax Credit. If they were unable to find more work, the benefit would be removed.

At the start of the year, Carers UK joined Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and USDAW campaigns to write to the Prime Minister, calling for a rethink on the policy.

In a further letter to responsible Treasury Minister Chloe Smith MP, Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots argued that carers should be exempt from these changes. Given the unique barriers to work faced by families juggling full-time caring responsibilities for an older or disabled relative along with childcare, Carers UK argued many would find it impossible to work the additional eight hours needed and would simply lose the £3,870 tax credit.

Heléna Herklots said: “These families are often already facing a huge struggle to balance work with young children and other caring responsibilities – with all the costs and stresses of managing childcare and finding quality replacement social care, and of getting the flexibility they need from work. It would have been completely unfair to penalize families trying so hard to care and work and we welcome the Government’s decision to protect carers from these changes.”

Couples on Working Tax Credit who have children and where one partner claims Carer's Allowance should check that the Tax Credits Office is aware they will be exempt from these changes, click here for more info.

Carers UK is continuing to work on other elements of welfare reform and the impact on carers. For a plain-English guide to Welfare Reform visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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