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Friday 30 September 2016 Instagram
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Carers benefit system too "complex"

Carers benefit system too "complex"

Almost one million carers are dealing with an "unnecessarily complex" benefits system that "causes confusion" and does not encourage them to take on part-time work, according to a parliamentary committee.

Targets in JobCentres dissuade advisers to give carers enough support to find other jobs, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in a report.

Some 900,000 people who look after relatives and loved ones give an estimated £23 billion work of care every year. They receive benefits such as Carers Allowance and Employment Support worth £2 billion from the Department for Work and Pensions, but about 20% say they find claiming difficult.

The current system means carers' benefits can affect claims for the person being looked after, and the cross-party committee said carers seeking paid work do not get support tailored to their individual needs.

Only £25 million of the £38 million earmarked for employment support for carers last year has been spent so far, the committee said, and expressed concern that the remaining £13 million would be used in other areas of the JobCentre as the recession increases service demand.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Public Accounts Committee

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