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Carers Grant

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

The Petition of the Alzheimer's Society (South Buckinghamshire Branch) and residents of Chesham and Amersham and others,

Declares that carers and former carers having greatly appreciated Carers Grant that has enabled them to take breaks from caring for those closest to them and that this benefit has helped them to care for those that they love in their own homes.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that this valuable benefit continues to be made available through the Alzheimer's Society and other organisations in the voluntary sector.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mrs. Cheryl Gillan, Official Report, 13 December 2007; Vol. 469, c. 3P.] [P000085]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The Government has long recognised the valuable role played by carers and that caring can have a negative effect on a person's health and well-being. This is why we introduced the carers grant in 1999 in recognition of the support carers need for breaks and services. The grant has now provided over £1 billion in support for carers and we have recently announced that monies that councils can use to support carers will continue throughout the next spending review period.

From April 2008, the carers grant will be paid as part of the new area based grant. We have recently announced that the contribution in 2008/09 for carer support will increase to £224 million. It will rise to £240 million in 2009/10 and £256 million in 2010/11. This contribution is intended to enable local authorities to continue to develop innovative and personalised outcomes reflecting the needs of their local carer population.

These sums include £25 million each year in recognition of the need to ensure councils have the means to provide emergency cover when carers are suddenly unable to care. This was first paid as a separate sum in October 2007.

It is for each local council to ensure that they determine how best to spend the grant in order to deliver local and national priorities in their area. Councils are able to commission local service providers, including those in the voluntary sector, to deliver the services, which are needed.

We announced a new deal for carers earlier this year, which has a number of strands including the payment of additional monies to help councils arrange emergency cover for carers. Firstly, we are developing a carers’ helpline, which will provide access to the information so needed by carers. Secondly, we are establishing an Expert Carers’ Programme, which will provide training to carers to empower and enable them. Thirdly, we are reviewing the 1999 National Carers Strategy, which we plan to publish in the spring of 2008. This revised document will provide us with the blueprint for carers support in the future. Finally, we are establishing a Standing Commission on Carers, which will ensure the voice of carers, is central to the development of Government policy and look at how carers will be affected by the long-term issues. Membership of the Commission will be announced in due course.