(2) whether local authorities are permitted to use the carers’ grant to support the provision of day centres;
(3) whether she plans to extend carers’ grant beyond 2008;
(4) what funding is planned to help with the provision of respite care;
(5) what options are available to individuals for the use they make of carers’ grant; and what role local authorities play in ensuring choice is available.
This Government introduced the carers’ grant in 1999 to support councils in providing breaks and other services for carers in England. The grant is not paid to individuals but paid each year to councils as a specific formula grant.
Councils can use the grant to provide a range of services for carers in their area depending on local demand and need. This may include commissioning day care services if this is what is needed locally. Councils will want to ensure that the services they commission provide good quality services that will meet carers’ assessed needs. Councils should ensure that individuals have as much choice as possible about the services they are offered.
Ministers have yet to decide whether the carers grant will continue after March 2008.
Local councils can use the carers grant to provide short breaks for carers as well as a range of other services to support them. The grant in 2006-07 is £185 million. In addition, in our health and social care White Paper “Our health, our care, our say” we commit to ensure that short-term, home-based respite support is established for carers in crisis or emergency situations.