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Older Carers

Volume 604: debated on Thursday 14 January 2016

11. What steps the Government are taking to help older female carers balance the demands of work with caring for older relatives. (903014)

Unpaid carers are the unsung heroes of our society, which is why the Care Act 2014 gave carers new rights, focusing on their wellbeing, which includes their employment. In 2015, the Government extended the right to request flexible working arrangements, and we are also investing £1.6 million in nine pilot sites, exploring ways to support people who are combining work and caring responsibilities.

I thank the Minister for her response. According to a recent report from the Department of Health, the cost to the Exchequer of carers being unable to continue working has been estimated at £1.3 billion a year. Will the Minister confirm what incentives are in place for employers to support carers in the workplace?

The report my hon. Friend refers to was a landmark one in demonstrating the business case for investing in carer-friendly policies. The Government have been working to raise awareness among employers of the issue and of the cost of leaving it unaddressed. Our £1.6 million project will be invaluable in helping us to establish the most effective forms of support for carers. We are also backing the Employers for Carers network run by Carers UK, which provides resources to implement carer-friendly policies.