Tax breaks for care vouchers proposed

An innovative scheme that could help carers balance work with their caring responsibilities, by giving a tax break for care vouchers, has been put forward by a group of leading employers and charities.

The scheme would be similar to that which is already helping parents with the cost of childcare. The vouchers would be provided by employers as a benefit to help their staff who are carers. The tax break would be used to buy a range of services that older and disabled people say they need, including extra home care, home repairs, gardening, chiropody and other preventative services. Research from the London School of Economics, predicts that for only £37m investment from government, £83m could be generated for care services. This could pay for an extra five and a half million hours of home care.

Three in five people will care for someone during their lives. Within 30 years, more than 25 per cent of the population will be over 65 and the number of carers will rise to nine million. Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK stated: “Every day we hear from carers who are forced to give up work because they cannot juggle work and caring. Having access to care services would make all the difference, in the same way that childcare does. It’s time for action: a system of care vouchers would be a win-win policy for government, employers and carers.”

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