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Carers Say They Need More Help From Government

HARLOW carers have reacted with scepticism to Government measures introduced to help them cope.

Residents who devote time to looking after their sick, elderly or disabled relatives, doubt they will reap the benefits of the recently announced carers' package, which includes council tax and pensions perks, and a £140 million grant to help carers take a break.

They believe the Government has underestimated the number of carers who need assistance and have called for more funding for high quality respite care.

One Harlow carer, who did not wish to be named, said: "I do not think the measures will affect me at all. The money to take a break would only be useful if the they could provide the quality of support care required."

The pensioner, who has a 35-year-old son with severe learning difficulties, added: "I do not want just any odd bod looking after my son. I am very particular about the way things are done.

"The important thing is for the Government to supply sufficient funding to provide suitable residential homes."

The £140 million grant spread over three years will allow councils to provide respite breaks for carers, by sending trained sitters to their homes or by providing special accommodation.

Help will also be targeted through a new pension scheme from 2002, while disabled people and carers may qualify for extra council tax rebates. The New Deal plan will also be extended to help carers return to work.

Another Harlow carer, who looks after her 27-year-old son with Downs Syndrome, said: "It's good to hear the Government is giving recognition to carers, but I do not know if it is possible to get decent respite care with the money being offered.

"There are people caring behind closed doors who the Government do not know about. I am not sure they know how many people they are catering for."

Welcoming the proposals, which he said were long overdue, Harlow MP Bill Rammell said: "Some carers look after their relatives day-in day-out, 24-hours a day and however much you love your relatives, you need a break.I am pleased the Government is focusing on respite care." HARLOW carers have reacted with scepticism to Government measures introduced to help them cope.

Residents who devote time to looking after their sick, elderly or disabled relatives, doubt they will reap the benefits of the recently announced carers' package, which includes council tax and pensions perks, and a £140 million grant to help carers take a break.

They believe the Government has underestimated the number of carers who need assistance and have called for more funding for high quality respite care.

One Harlow carer, who did not wish to be named, said: "I do not think the measures will affect me at all. The money to take a break would only be useful if they could provide the quality of support care required."

The pensioner, who has a 35-year-old son with severe learning difficulties, added: "I do not want just any odd bod looking after my son. I am very particular about the way things are done.

"The important thing is for the Government to supply sufficient funding to provide suitable residential homes."

The £140 million grant spread over three years will allow councils to provide respite breaks for carers, by sending trained sitters to their homes or by providing special accommodation.

Help will also be targeted through a new pension scheme from 2002, while disabled people and carers may qualify for extra council tax rebates. The New Deal plan will also be extended to help carers return to work.

Another Harlow carer, who looks after her 27-year-old son with Down's Syndrome, said: "It's good to hear the Government is giving recognition to carers, but I do not know if it is possible to get decent respite care with the money being offered.

"There are people caring behind closed doors whom the Government does not know about. I am not sure they know how many people they are catering for."

Welcoming the proposals, which he said were long overdue, Harlow MP Bill Rammell said: "Some carers look after their relatives day in, day out, 24 hours a day and however much you love your relatives, you need a break. I am pleased the Government is focusing on respite care."

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