§ Mr. Roger Evans
The latest figures show that 280,000 people in residential care or nursing homes are being supported financially by my Department through income support, either through preserved rights to higher limits or through income support, including residential allowance. In three, five and 10 years' time, the figures are estimated to be 294,000, 303,000 and 327,000.
§ Ms Coffey
Is the Minister aware that, in Stockport, residential grant from the Department of Social Security is £30 lower than the grant available from the local authority to people who were admitted to residential and nursing care after 1993? Is he further aware that that is causing enormous problems in respect of the personal allowances being used by elderly people to top up that grant, and that relatives, who can ill afford it, are having to contribute? Will the Minister review the DSS grant to bring it into line with the actual charges of care and so prevent some of the humiliation and distress to my constituents? After all, it is not their fault that the Government have privatised health care for the elderly.
§ Mr. Evans
Of course the income support limits under preserved rights are reviewed annually. The limits have risen substantially in real terms since 1985. In nursing homes, the rise is 38 per cent. and for the elderly in residential care homes the rise is 16 per cent. in real terms. However, no Government could meet all fees, however high. In many parts of the country, fees are as high as £1,000 a week.