Carers are not being giving the money were been promised by the government because PCTs are using it elsewhere, research has suggested.
Data from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care revealed that 80% of the £50m the government planned to give to carers this year had been allocated elsewhere. Money given to PCTs is not ring-fenced, meaning it can be spent however the PCT sees fit.
Of the 130 PCTs in England, 81 were found not to have allocated cash for carers or to have spent it elsewhere, while some were using it to pay off debts.
Carole Cochrane, chief executive at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: "We are alarmed and disappointed at these research findings.
"Once again, the recognition of carers and their significant contribution is not seen as a priority by local health trusts, even though the country's six million carers already save the government an estimated £87bn a year through caring at home."
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "The government should be ashamed of its failure to provide the help they promised to carers.
"This is yet more evidence of why we need locally-elected health boards to make the NHS accountable to the people it serves."