The government today launched a new multimillion pound cross-cutting strategy to improve the lives of Britain's army of carers.
The Carers Strategy is supported by £255m of new investment to implement some immediate steps.
This money is in addition to the £224m per annum given to Local Authorities through the Carers Grant, the extra £340m to be spent by the government supporting the families of disabled children over the next three years, and £2.7m a year to fund a new information helpline and website for carers.
Today's announcement means:
Health minister Ivan Lewis said:
"In the next decade elder care will be the new childcare and it is essential our policies properly meet the scale of the challenge.
"Thousands of carers, irrespective of their roles or postcode, have told us they want a support system that is on their side, rather than a constant struggle and the right to a life of their own alongside their caring responsibilities.
"Today's historic announcement is the beginning of a 10-year programme to give carers the recognition and status they deserve."
There are currently about 5.2 million carers in England and Wales, and nearly half of them provide more than 20 hours care a week and over a million provide more than 50 hours care per week. The demand for care is expected to rise in the future, with the number of people over 85, those most in need of care, rising by over 50% in the next 10 years.