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Carers' Allowance

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

The Petition of those concerned about carer’s allowance,

Declares that Carer’s Allowance needs to be reformed to make it a fair and just benefit for all carers. In particular that the rules which prevent Carer’s Allowance being paid to those receiving an equivalent amount of retirement pension or incapacity benefit should be ended. Further that the earnings rule be changed to a sliding scale, so that carers do not suddenly lose all of their Carer’s Allowance when they earn more than a given amount.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to reform the Carer’s Allowance to make it a fair and just benefit for all.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. David Clelland, Official Report, 5 December 2007; Vol. 468, c. 932.] [P000074]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:

People have signed this petition because they wish to see Carer’s Allowance reformed. In particular, they are calling for the abolition of the overlapping benefits rule and for the current earnings rule to be replaced by a sliding scale arrangement.

The Government’s commitment is clear. We fully appreciate the vital role which carers fulfil, and will continue to support them through a range of measures. We are also looking at what more we might do to help them.

To this end, we are currently undertaking a comprehensive Review of the Prime Minister’s 1999 National Carers Strategy. The Review is being led by an inter-departmental steering group which includes representatives from several Government departments and from the main national organisations representing carers. The work is being carried out by four task forces which are looking at Incomes, Employment, Health and Social Care, and Equalities. The Incomes task force is conducting a detailed examination of all aspects of the financial support currently being provided to carers. The future of Carer’s Allowance, including its eligibility conditions, is being considered as part of this Review.

The Review will be published in Spring 2008.