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Carers ask Gordon Brown for real change

07 November 2007

Ahead of first Carers Summit, carers deliver thousands of letters to Downing Street demanding reform of carers' benefits.


A group of carers representing the UK's six million carers deliver letters to Gordon Brown today (7 November 2007) calling for a fresh look at carers' benefits and the financial support they receive.

The visit to No.10 Downing Street comes one day ahead of the first Carers Summit due to be held in London on Thursday 8 November.

The letters are part of Carers UK's Real Change not Short Change campaign which is aiming to overhaul the benefits systems to give carers a decent standard of living and to enable them to work if they wish.

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK says, "We've had a staggering response to our campaign and a wide range of messages showing the strength of carers' feelings. The support that carers provide is worth £87 billion each year, yet in return the Carer's Allowance is just £48 a week. Carers see this as an insult and want the system changed."

Research by Carers UK shows that nearly three quarters of carers are worse off as a result of caring. A third struggle to pay bills and one in five has cut back on food.

Gordon Brown has made carers a priority by setting up a Standing Commission on carers, and launching the largest ever consultation for carers with a review of the National Strategy for Carers, which he has pledged will become a vision for the next ten years.

The Carers Summit, organised by Carers UK, will see some 250 carers from throughout the UK debate the crucial issues facing carers in the 21st century, including the lack of recognition they face, the low incomes they are forced to survive on and the need for health and social care services to better support carers. Ivan Lewis MP, Minister for Care Services and Anne McGuire MP, Minister for Carers' Benefits, will be attending to hear carers' views which they will feed in to the National Carers Strategy.

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