Caring for the Carers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:40 pm on 1st May 1986.

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Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing , Liverpool, West Derby 6:40 pm, 1st May 1986

I am pleased that there is consensus about what needs to be done, but there is no consensus about the availability of cash. That is where the rub lies. There are 1¼ million people in this country who are looking after severely disabled relatives. Although they may be looking after their severely disabled relatives by choice, that is no reason for exploiting them, yet they are being exploited.

The hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) said that it is all right if one signs cheques using somebody else's cheque book, but who is signing the cheque for £120 a week that goes to many owners of private nursing homes? This gives rise to the kind of headline that appeared earlier this week in the Liverpool Echo, which, together with the "World in Action" team, has done a great service by pointing out that many of the cheques for £120 a week are wasted because that money is swelling the profits of the owners of private residential nursing homes who are not providing proper food and conditions for the people in their care. I have already put down three parliamentary questions about residential homes, including Millvale House in my constituency.

I hope that the Minister for Social Security will agree to hold an independent inquiry into this matter. If the Government really care for those who are in private nursing homes, they should inquire into the cost of caring for people in those homes. They should provide more help for the real carers—relatives who provide care, not for profit, but for love.