Carers welcome ‘credit’ proposals in Pensions White Paper

Carers have welcomed the ‘Carers’ Credit’ proposals in the UK Government’s Pensions White Paper launched yesterday (25th May).

The White Paper puts forward Carers’ Credit measures will that will allow carers to build up an entitlement to a state pension without having to make a minimum level of national insurance contributions. This will apply to people caring for the sick and severely disabled for 20 hours or more a week.

The Paper also reduces the number of qualifying years contributions needed for a full basic State Pension to 30 (from 44 for men and 39 for women), and introduces compulsory employer contributions for personal account pensions, benefiting carers in part time work.

Unveiling the White Paper, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions John Hutton stated: “The proposals we are publishing today … include introducing a new low-cost savings scheme supported by a higher, fairer state pension re-linked to earnings, and measures to address the unfairness of the current system towards women and carers by making sure it rewards social contributions equally with cash contributions.”

Reacting to the White Paper, Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK, commented: “Currently there are six million carers in the UK. In 25 years time, around three million more people will be caring and yet we will have a smaller working population. These proposals fit in with our changing future and will take an important step towards avoiding poverty for carers in retirement.”

Janet Randles, Convenor of the All-Wales Mental Health Carers Forum, added: “By allowing carers to build up their pension entitlements the Government has come up with a fairer system that recognises the vital unpaid work carers do. This is welcome news for the considerable number of carers of people with a mental illness across Wales who often have to make financial sacrifices.”

To read the Pensions White Paper, click here.