Carers

Department of Health written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Iain McKenzie Iain McKenzie Labour, Inverclyde

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if his Department will provide additional financial support to carers.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

We have legislated to give carers new rights, which mean that for the first time, they will have a legal right to receive support of their eligible needs. To meet the cost of these new rights, we are providing over £100 million in 2015-16 to local authorities, with consequent increases rising to around £300 million in 2019-20 and subsequent years.

We are investing £400 million between 2011 and 2015, to improve National Health Service support for carers and to enable them to take a break from their caring responsibilities. The carers’ breaks funding of £130 million for 2015-16 will be in the Better Care Fund.

Through the Carers Social Action Support Fund, Government has recently invested £700,000 in seven projects which will offer peer support and breaks that can make a difference to carers’ lives.

The Department of Health, together with the Government Equalities Office and the Department for Work and Pensions, is investing £1.4 million in a number of local pilots to explore ways in which to help people balance work with caring responsibilities.

In addition, we have set out our commitments to carers from 2014 – 2016 in the recently updated National Carers Strategy: Second Action Plan which also outlines the main achievements in recognising and supporting carers.

The Government recognises that carers play a vital role in looking after friends or family members who need support. That is why we have continued to uprate the level of Carer’s Allowance by the Consumer Price Index. Carer’s Allowance will increase from £61.35 to £62.10 in April 2015 as part of the annual uprating of benefits. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his 2014 Autumn Statement that the earnings limit in Carer’s Allowance will increase from £102 to £110 per week from April 2015.

People who are entitled to Carer's Allowance may have a carer premium, currently £34.20 a week, included in the assessment of income-related benefits such as Income Support and Housing Benefit. An equivalent additional amount for carers is included in the assessment of Pension Credit. A carer element will also be included in Universal Credit at the rate of £148.61 per monthly assessment period. This means that carers can receive these benefits at a higher rate than other recipients.

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