Letter: Carers themselves need support

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your feature on Diane and Derek Munday (7 January) reveals some stark home truths about community care. While the Government's reforms for care in the community have focused on the provision of services, considerably less attention has been given to how carers and disabled people need to be supported by the social security system.

For many carers and disabled people, care in the community means living together at home on an income that falls far short of their needs. They bear the financial costs of community care, not the Treasury.

Carers save the Government millions of pounds a year by providing full-time care and assistance at home. Yet of the 1.8 million full-time carers in Britain, only 10 per cent qualify for the carers' state benefit. Their reward is a meagre pounds 32.55 a week.

Mrs Munday is not alone in her anger at the 'begrudging allowances' for herself and her husband. Neither is she alone in wanting rights, not sympathy. As one carer recently put it: 'You can't take a debt of gratitude down to Sainsbury's'

Yours sincerely,


Caring Costs

London, SE1

7 January