§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure early help is given to the carers of the elderly and disabled in accordance with the recommendations of the British Medical 553W Association's report on the subject; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Bowis
Support for carers is one of our key community care priorities. It is not practicable to prescribe centrally the form which this support should take. It is the responsibility of health and local authorities to offer a suitable range of support, such as respite and home care, based on local needs. Case by case, the services and support provided should reflect the circumstances of individual users and carers.
Our current guidance to health and local authorities makes clear the importance of involving their carers in decisions made about service users. From April 1996, under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995, carers who provide substantial care on a regular basis will have a right to their own assessment if they want it.
This year, we have included an additional £30 million in community care funding for the provision of respite and home care. Our monitoring shows that the extra £20 million made available in 1994–95 resulted in more day and respite care being provided to the benefit of carers.