December 4, 2008 12:00 AM

Responding to research released today by Carers UK showing that carers are being hit particularly badly by the recession, Jenny Willott, Shadow Lib Dem Work and Pensions Secretary and MP for Cardiff Central, called on the Government to review the benefits system for carers.

Jenny Willott MP and Jenny Randerson AM will be holding a dedicated Carers' Surgery in The Tabernacle in The Hayes, Cardiff, this Saturday 6th December between 10:30 and 12 noon.

Carers support for their elderly, sick or disabled relatives makes contribution worth £87 billion a year to the economy.

The research from a Carers UK poll of over 1,700 carers reveals:

• 86% of carers say their financial position is worse than a year ago.

• two-thirds in fuel poverty; over half in debt; over half cutting back on essentials like food or heating to make ends meet.

• 74% are struggling to pay utility bills - up from 33% last year.

• Nearly two thirds are spending their own income or savings to pay for care for the person they look after (up from 35% in 2007).

Commenting, Jenny Willott said:

"More and more carers are being stretched to the limit by the recession with rising bills, soaring debts and insufficient financial support from the Government.

"It is appalling that carers, who contribute so much to society and to the economy, are being forced into poverty and to spend their own limited income to pay for the person they are looking after.

"Carers have been treated unfairly by the benefits system for too long. It is high time the Government looked at how the system can be reformed to offer greater support for carers and end the financial misery so many of them are facing."

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