Below is a copy of the letter referred to under the thread 'Gordon Brown and carers'. It is composed by carers who live with the problems of caring. It is appreciated carers have very little time to sit down and write letters, so the idea is that carers, their friends and families can copy the letter - either in its entirity or adapted as required - and send it to their MP and other interested parties.

What does everyone think?

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Carers have heard from various politicians how much they value and appreciate the work and commitment of Carers. Carers are frustrated with battling with an unfair, uncaring system. Carers are fearful of the future. Carers do not feel valued or appreciated. This, and preceding governments, have not made a serious attempt to solve the problems that Carers experience every day.
The main problems being:
1) Poverty : Poverty caused by the appallingly low CA Benefit.
Carers struggle to pay their bills and feed and clothe themselves. This is entirely caused by the restrictions of the responsibility of being a Carer. I.e.: The level of Care they provide result in many being unable to work even part time.
2) Housing : Many Carers lose their homes because they are unable to meet the mortgage repayments when they give up work to become a Carer.
3) Respite Care : Carers work with out a break for months sometimes years on end because they cannot afford to pay for Respite Care, or it is just not available.
4) Over Lapping Benefit Rule : This rule ensures that Carers live on an inadequate income.
5) Health Care Costs : In spite of their appallingly low income Carers pay for Prescriptions, Dental Care and Eye Tests.
6) Pension : Carers Allowance is stopped at pension age. This causes immense hardship to pensioners, because as Carers they incur extra expenses.

The enormous contribution that Carers make to society should be recognised with appropriate and realistic financial support. They need support in the form of disability aids and training.
Carers need emotional and physiological support in the form of Reliable Respite Care. So that like every other person on the planet they can come back to their work rested and refreshed. ( Even God rested on the seventh day!).

As more people become aware of the hardships that at automatically go with becoming a Carer; many may choose not to become a Carer. Consequently the full cost of that Social Care will fall upon society and the government. In the long term it would make more economic sense to adequately support Carers than it will to provide care for their Carees.
There are two options. A) Pay Carers an amount that reflects their work load and commitment in keeping with the cost of living, so that they can support themselves financially. Plus Free Respite Care of 4-6 weeks per year. It is the only realistic way they can have a break. I don’t know of any other category of people who have to pay someone else to do their job while they have a break or take a holiday. To add insult to injury they have to pay more than they themselves receive for the same work.

Or B) Put together a far more extensive and realistic range of financial benefits and support.
1) A Substantial Increase in Carers Allowance
2) Make Carers Allowance a Non-Means Tested Benefit
3) Free Respite Care, prescriptions, dental and eye care, Free Adult Education.
4) Carers Allowance to continue after reaching Pension age.
5) Disregard all Carers Savings
6) A Non Means Tested Extra Payment (To cover Mortgage Repayments, heating, travel and transport costs).

To appropriately provide for Carers a separate Community Care Tax should be implemented exclusively for the provision of Carers. Our Government could also follow the Spanish example of running a Lottery, the proceeds to be used for Carers.

The public may not like the prospect of another Tax; but one thing that is guaranteed is that faced with the prospect of becoming a Carer they will be even less thrilled that there isn’t any particular fund of money set aside for them.
Because of illness, the consequences of an accident or just infirmity and frailty of old age. Becoming a Carer can happen to anyone. It is a fact of life and it should be properly provided for.
A separate Tax and Lottery Fund would ease the burden on other services and finances that are at present paid for out of the UK’s general budget.

This government says it wants to banish poverty; so why is this government by it’s inaction abandoning hundreds of thousands of it’s own citizens to live and work with out the benefit of basic human rights?