Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Health 4:06 pm, 8th December 2009

My hon. Friend raises a very important point. In years to come, this will be as important as Sure Start is in helping young mothers with children to balance work and home. That is something that we have discussed in our debates about child care. We must give people looking after elderly relatives quality support that they can draw down when they need it, because that gives them the ability to work and to balance work with caring for their relatives. If we cannot provide that support, there will be an economic consequence for the country.

We have taken steps to support carers, and my Department has made funds available from our budget to support respite care. My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue. A crucial part of any national care service is to provide quality support for carers so that life becomes tolerable and they can carry on with their work and other responsibilities, knowing that there is good-quality support for their loved one when they are not with them. For all those reasons, we brought forward a Green Paper.

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