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80% of carer funds 'go missing'

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Up to 80% of funding provided by the government to support carers is not reaching the intended targets, figures from two charities reveal.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care said about £40m of the £50m allocated by the Government to support carers in 2009/10 is not reaching the frontline because the funds are not ring-fenced, meaning it can be spent on other things within the NHS.

Care services minister Phil Hope has called for MPs to help ensure primary care trusts allocate the money as intended.

Data uncovered under the Freedom of Information Act for 130 PCTs in England found that 81 had not allocated the cash or were spending it elsewhere, including to pay debts.

Carole Cochrane, chief executive at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: “We are alarmed and disappointed at these research findings.

“Once again, the recognition of carers and their significant contribution is not seen as a priority by local health trusts, even though the country’s six million carers already save the Government an estimated £87bn a year through caring at home.”

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