Department of Health written question – answered on 3rd November 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the report by Carers Trust entitled A Charge on Caring?, published on 16 September 2015, if he will take steps to prohibit local authorities from charging unpaid carers for support.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government recognises the valuable contribution made by carers, many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members or friends.

The Care Act guidance is clear about policy on charging carers. The Care Act statutory guidance, at paragraph 8.50 states that:

“Local authorities are not required to charge a carer for support and indeed in many cases it would be a false economy to do so. When deciding whether to charge, and in determining what an appropriate charge is, a local authority should consider how it wishes to express the way it values carers within its local community as partners in care, and recognise the significant contribution carers make.”

The Care Act replicates the previous position where charging carers was permissible and the Government has no plans to change this. It would not have been appropriate to impose a blanket ban on charging for carers services, because in some cases small charges are necessary to the viability of services. However, the Care Act provides additional protection to carers by making it clear that local authorities cannot charge carers for services provided to the person being cared for. This means that carers may only be charged for services provided directly to them.

Most local authorities do not routinely charge carers in recognition of the valuable contribution carers make to their local communities, and the Carers Trust report confirms that this is still the case. We will continue to make the case against routine charging of carers and to monitor the situation closely.

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