A group of leading employers are joining charities today to call on Gordon Brown to introduce vouchers and tax breaks to help carers balance working with their caring responsibilities. The vouchers would be provided by companies for staff who are carers and today’s call is supported by the publication of research claiming the system has economic benefits.
The research, by the London School of Economics, predicts that a government grant of 37 million pounds could generate 83 million pounds in care services, which would pay for an estimated extra five and a half million hours of home care.
The Campaign for Care Vouchers is supported by a broad group of organisations, including Carers UK, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Counsel and Care, the Disability Rights and Equal Opportunities Commissions and the Age and Employment Network as well as major employers such as BT, Ford, a number of banks and Hertfordshire County Council.
Campaigners say the tax break would be used to buy services that older and disabled people need, including home care, property repairs, gardening, chiropody and other preventative services. They point out that a similar scheme is already in place to help parents with the cost of childcare and that this could be adapted easily.
The campaign’s supporters say that Britain’s rapidly ageing society is creating massive demand for care services and reducing the number of people of working age in the population as well as draining the workforce of skills. New ways, they say, have to be found to help working carers to continue doing both things.