§ Lord Brockway
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their response to the revelation made in the report of the Equal Opportunities Commission, The Experience of Caring for Elderly and Handicapped Dependants, that women who care for infirm or aged relatives are severely restricted in their social life and rarely able to leave home, and what plans the Government have to aid them.
§ Lord Cullen of Ashbourne
Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of the extensive care families, and particularly women, provide unstintingly for their infirm and elderly relatives, often at the cost of very considerable personal sacrifice. In recognition of this, a range of support and relief facilities is provided by the community care services and by many voluntary organisations. Financial assistance is also available, depending on the family's circumstances, in the form of the invalid care allowance, supplementary benefit and dependency benefit, the rates of which were recently increased; and there is protection for state retirement pension rights during periods of home responsibility. It will never be possible to provide all families with all the outside support that may be desirable at some times, but the Government will continue to do what they can to assist individuals to provide the personal care which is of such immense value.