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Carers (Support)

Volume 129: debated on Tuesday 15 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what proportion of local authority social services departments provide 24-hour, seven days a week availability of relief services to carers;

(2) what is the most recent estimate available to him of the number of carers in Britain; and what proportion of these are known to service agencies and supported in their efforts.

We have no reliable information at present about the number of carers. A series of questions was included in the 1985 general household survey to identify people looking after a sick, handicapped or elderly person, with the aim of providing national estimates of the number of people who are providing care of this kind. The results of the survey will be available later this year. Information about the numbers of local authorities and other agencies which provide service for carers is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has on the proportion of households caring for a dependent member who are in receipt of (a) home help support, (b) district nursing services, (c) social work support or (d) other services.

The information requested is not centrally available. The Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys hopes to publish later this year a report on carers based on data collected as part of the 1985 general household survey.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has on the numbers of households with a mentally handicapped member who receives (a) sitting services, (b) respite care or (c) holiday relief schemes.