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Carers: Voucher Schemes

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment his Department has made of an employer-supported care voucher scheme on his Department’s target to increase the employment rate of people over 50 years; and if he will make a statement; (162302)

(2) what consideration he has given to the effect of care responsibilities on women in work; and if he will assess the potential of a care voucher scheme, similar to that in operation for child care, to enable carers to balance better work and caring.

I have been asked to reply.

The Government are keen to ensure that people with caring responsibilities can make the most of opportunities to balance work with their caring responsibilities.

They will look carefully at the costs and benefits of any further proposals, including whether it is the most effective mechanism for tackling the issues faced by carers, particularly those experienced by specific groups, when making an assessment of the case for intervention in this area.

The Government keep tax reliefs under review and has received representations in this area. However, they does not believe that allowing employers to provide employees with tax and NICs free care vouchers is the most appropriate, fair or cost-effective way of tackling the issues faced by carers.