Child-caring grandparents to get government support

The government has confirmed that it will offer greater support to grandparents who look after their grandchildren while the parents are at work.

Speaking in yesterday's Budget speech, the chancellor Alistair Darling said they would be able to claim national insurance credits towards the basic state pension from April 2011.

Mr Darling said the policy is being introduced because grandparents are increasingly playing a "big role" in looking after family members aged under 12.

"To reflect this we will ensure these caring responsibilities for grandparents of working age will count towards their entitlement for the basic state pension," he announced.

The move has been backed by the Grandparents' Association, which said it was "very pleased" that positive action is being taken.

David Shields, spokesperson for the organisation, said it has been campaigning for such a policy to be introduced for more than 20 years.

However, he added that the government could go further, as people who care for children aged over 12 also need extra financial support.

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