HC Deb 18 February 1997 vol 290 cc537-8W
19. Mr. Loyden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to promote the provision of social respite for carers. [14746]

Mr. Burns

Informal carers make a key contribution to the aims of community care by enabling many people to be cared for in their own homes. Promoting effective support for carers is one of our major priorities.

Local authorities receive very substantial resources for community care provision. They are expected to provide an appropriate range of respite and other support services to meet local needs. They have a built-in incentive to do so: failure to support carers in this way would be likely to lead to greater demand for more costly long-term residential care placements.

Our commitment to promoting effective support for carers is underwritten by on-going monitoring and development work, in particular by the social services inspectorate. This has enabled us to provide authorities with informed, practical guidance on assessing and meeting the needs for local respite care services in the most effective way.