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Carers of relatives in England to get legal rights

Ministers are planning to grant legal rights to people in England who spend hours caring for elderly or disabled relatives, according to a report on the BBC website.

11 June 2012

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Under the proposals, local authorities would be legally obliged to offer support to carers, such as rights to respite breaks, education and training.

The BBC says that proposals are due to be published “within the next few weeks” after recommendations by the Law Commission.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said the move would make a “huge difference” to carers’ lives. “Carers make big sacrifices in undertaking the support of a family member, they often give up their health and their wealth as part of this. Many feel the need to quit work as a consequence of it as well,” he told the BBC.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure in future neither the NHS or local councils overlook the family members who are providing the backbone of care and support in our country, and they actually look out for them and provide them with the support when they need it.”

The government also wants to expand the network of existing carer centres and services around the country, according to the BBC’s report. “We want to make sure people have access to a break from their caring responsibilities,” said Burstow.

“That could be as practical as having a respite care service provided for the person they’re caring for, or even access to a computer so they can keep in touch with the rest of their family and have a life beyond their caring responsibilities.”

It is not yet clear how the proposals would be paid for.

For the full report see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18379535

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