Caring for the Carers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:43 pm on 1st May 1986.

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Photo of Sir David Price Sir David Price , Eastleigh 5:43 pm, 1st May 1986

If the hon. Gentleman had listened, he would have heard me say that I wanted the debate to achieve a consensus. I was referring to a major point. The hon. Gentleman can keep his party points for his party's committees.

It is estimated that those caring for the elderly at home save the statutory services £5·3 billion a year. It is important to take on board also the fact that the cost of a bed in a residential establishment is between £140 and £500 a week. By contrast, the maximum rate of attendance allowance available only to the most severely disabled living at home is £30·60. The invalid care allowance is only £23 a week.

That puts the role of the carer and the scope of the problem within statistical dimensions. The problem is severe. It covers age spectrum. It is important to remember that many carers are themselves elderly people.