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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 17:53 GMT
Brown 'to listen' to home carers
Carer with person in wheelchair
Mr Brown said people's aspirations were getting higher
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to "listen" to the six million people in Britain who spend their time caring for others.

He told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours show he would personally oversee government policy, which could see changes to the Carer's Allowance.

That is worth 48 a week - which is lower than out-of-work benefits.

Mr Brown said the system had to become more "personal and responsive" and praised carers as "magnificent".

Elderly carers

Britain's elderly population is expected to triple by 2047, with many more people requiring care.

Mr Brown told You and Yours: "We're looking at the Carer's Allowance, of course, itself.

"We're looking at the particular issues faced by young carers, by elderly carers, particularly people caring for people with dementia."

Mr Brown said he had set up the New Deal for Carers while he was chancellor, and an independent commission since becoming prime minister, adding: "The voice of carers is being listened to. We've had events in all parts of the country."

But he said he had to look to the situation "in a few years' time - when there are more elderly people, when people's aspirations are rightly higher, when people have a greater desire to live in their own homes and not in institutional care.

"And therefore we've got to have a system that is more personal and responsive."

The Carer's Allowance is designed to help those looking after relatives for more than 35 hours a week.

But the Institute for Public Policy Research says it can be hard to claim, with 43% of those entitled to it - some 350,000 people - not receiving it.



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