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Single care voucher could be raised in Parliamentary debate on best support for carers

Parliament will today debate the best ways to value and support carers and employers have urged an immediate re-examination in support of a single care voucher offering tax and national insurance breaks to help employees who care for disabled or ill people.

In August 2008 the Work & Pensions Select Committee recommended the Government take a full cost benefit analysis of tax and national insurance exemptions for employees who care for disabled people - similar to tax-efficient childcare vouchers. It also advised the Department of Work and Pensions to pilot the scheme with its own employees, but the Government failed to implement either of these recommendations.

The London School of Economics has estimated a government investment of £37 million in this initiative would generate £83 million.

Caroline Waters, BT's director of people and policy, said: "One in seven people in the workplace is already a carer. At BT we recognise society will see an increase in the need for care as many as three out of every five people in the UK are carers at some stage in their lives.

"We believe employer-supported schemes such as care vouchers would provide the sort of practical help carers in the workplace need as well as improving the quality of life for those being cared for. Without such support for carers, the workforce will be drained of crucial skills, just at the point when our ageing society needs more people to work later in life."

Andrew Clark, head of reward at the John Lewis Partnership, added: "We fully support the care vouchers proposal. We are convinced this scheme would offer tangible assistance to carers and value to employers through the retention of a talented and diverse workforce."

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