House of Lords written question – answered on 18th July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 13 June (WA 261), what is their assessment of the estimate by Carers UK that the economic value of the contribution made by carers amounts to £119 billion per year; and whether future spending reviews will reflect this contribution.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

We are very much aware of, and greatly value, the significant contribution which unpaid carers make to the care of older and younger disabled people. There is scope for debate about how best to put a financial value on this care but there can be no doubt about its huge value to those who receive care and to the wider community.

While in some respects, the Carers UK estimate could be seen as an over-estimate, formal services would not need to replace every hour of unpaid care: for example, carers may include among hours of unpaid care time spent with the cared for person, in case they should need help, but undertaking other activities and/or time taking the cared for person on an outing. In other respects, it could be seen as an under-estimate. It does not include a valuation of the long-term impacts of intensive caring on the carer's own health and well-being or on the carer's career prospects and life-time earnings and pensions.

In the last spending review, the Government allocated extra resources to support carers of all ages and to provide them with breaks to sustain them in their caring role. We cannot pre-empt decisions about future spending reviews.

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