Government to boost carers' savings

Carers are set to benefit from government contributions to their savings, beside those on low incomes, as part of the Saving Gateway scheme. Regular savings by those on benefits will receive contributions of 50p per £1 saved.

By 2010, when the scheme comes into effect, those who qualify will be sent a letter which can then be taken to an approved Saving Gateway provider to open an account. A maximum of £25 a month can be saved for two years, after which the Government will calculate and make its contribution. A person saving the maximum over two years would receive £900 tax-free, including any interest earned.

Following an announcement by Ian Pearson, a Treasury minister, carer's allowance, given to help those who spend a minimum of 35 hours a week as a carer, will now be one of the qualifying benefits. Imelda Redmond, the chief executive of Carers UK, welcomes the addition, "While carers on low incomes won't have much spare cash to put into savings, this new scheme will mean that if they are able to put anything aside, they will see their money grow rapidly."

People receiving income support, jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, employment support allowance, severe disablement allowance and those on tax credits, with an income below £15,575, are also included in the scheme.