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Committee publish Government response to Overpayments of Carer's allowance report

5 November 2019

The Work and Pensions publishes the last of the current Government's responses to its inquiries of this Parliament: this on the ongoing saga of the overpayment of carer's allowance, and the resulting problems faced by carers – who in some cases have received debt demands for tens of thousands of pounds, to be repaid over decades.

The Committee was so disappointed with the response that it asked the Chair to write back to the Government to press for more detail  (letter attached again or your ref) – not least for a clear answer on whether the Government accepts or rejects the Committee's recommendations.

The Committee was particularly concerned that the Government had not accepted its recommendation that the Government look into writing off overpayments that were caused by the Government's own administrative failings.

This is not the first time that the Committee has had to push for a better answer for carers from the Government. In its inquiry last year into support provided for carers, it concluded that the Benefits cliff edge for carers means work doesn't pay and then rejected  the Government "non-response" on support for carers.

Chair's comments

Commenting on the Government response to its report on the years of mistaken overpayments of carers allowance,  Carers saving Treasury £billions every year “set up for a fall” by design of Carer's Allowance, Committee Chair Frank Field said: 

“Unpaid carers save the Treasury billions a year through an untold, unmeasured labour of love. Time and again the Government refuses to apologise for punishing carers' honest mistakes, but instead demands the return of thousands and thousands of pounds of overpayments. This Government response gives us little hope that the DWP has even understood what the problems are, let alone that it might do anything to end the misery it continues to inflict.”

Further information

Image: CCo