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Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of care responsibilities on women in work; whether she has made an assessment of the merits of an employer supported care voucher scheme, similar to that in operation for childcare, to enable carers better to manage work and caring; and if she will make a statement. (109291)

We know from the 2001 Census that women are more likely than men to provide unpaid care, and that women with caring responsibilities who are in employment are more likely to be in part-time work compared to men who provide unpaid care. Officials in my department are examining whether and how carers’ issues can be addressed within our policies and practices. As part of this work, initial discussions are taking place between officials in my department and the Department of Health on how we can support the commitment, set out in the White Paper ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’ to update and extend the Prime Minister’s strategy for carers. We are also in contact with relevant officials in the Department for Work and Pensions.