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Unpaid Carers

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government is taking to support unpaid carers; what plans he has to bring new funds to (a) help carers and (b) set up better support networks; and if he will make a statement. [100295]

Through the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, carers are entitled to an assessment to determine their needs as carers and eligibility for support. They may also receive cash to purchase the services they need.The Carers Grant gives money to local councils to provide short breaks for carers to enable them to continue in their caring role. The grant has been increased annually since its introduction in 1999 from £20 million to £100 million in 2003–04. The Grant will continue until 2006, during which time it will more than double to £185 million to provide extended care and 130,000 further breaks to carers. Increased flexibility in the use of the Grant will allow councils to better support local carers networks.In addition the Department of Health makes grants to voluntary organisations to provide information to support carers.