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Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 17:51 UK

Rising bills a "struggle" for carers

Christine and Andrew Rose

The cost of fuel and energy is weighing heavily on the UK's three million strong army of unpaid carers and those they look after at home.

Viewer Andrew Rose has been looking after his wife Christine for 17 years because she suffers from a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

They have built up 100,000 in debt on top of their mortgage, while trying to make ends meet and to finance her care.

With the cost of fuel on the rise, they have not been able to drive their motability car, which they bought last year to transport Christine.

Entitlement

The East Sussex couple have found it particularly hard to cope with rises in the cost of gas and electricity.

"Last year we struggled to keep the house warm and I made a conscious decision that we're going to stay warm. With my wife's disability, she needs to stay warm. And this year I have the same decision to make. I'm going to go further into debt because I don't get enough money to pay the heating bills," Andrew said.

Alex Fox from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers says winter fuel allowance should be extended to all carers.

He offered the Roses some practical financial advice by recommending they check that they are receiving their full entitlement of benefits.

"We know that up and down the country carers aren't always claiming what they should be getting," Alex said.

Take a look at the website of the Princess Royal Trust to see what help is available to carers.


Are you a carer who's finding it hard to cope with your bills? Or do you have a comment or view you would like to share on this topic? Please get in touch via email now or drop us a line at working.lunch@bbc.co.uk




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