§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has for changes to the benefits system in recognition of the costs incurred in caring.
§ Mr. Scott
Invalid care allowance, the main benefit for carers, has been uprated consistently in line with the retail prices index. The weekly earnings limit has been increased in each of the past four years and is currently £50, net of allowable expenses. In addition carers who receive either income support, housing benefit or council tax benefit are entitled to the carer premium. The earnings disregard for carers in receipt of any of those benefits was increased to £15 from April this year.
Some 195,000 carers benefit at a current cost in 1992–93 of £366 million. We have no plans to make further changes to the benefits.