Reply from Ivan Lewis via my MP

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Remember I wrote to my MP after the budget about carers issues, well he's sent me this reply from Mr. Lewis - I'll warn you he goes on a bit so you might want to make a cuppa first Image

Dear John

Thank you for your letter of 27th March on behalf of your constituent Miss Hanson about support for carers.

I would like to assure Miss Hanson that we recognise the valuable contribution made by carers. We have made a major investment in supporting carers and improving the services available to them.

Carers have been a priority of the Government's agenda since 1999 when their contribution and concerns were first formally recognised in the National Strategy for Carers. The strategy was developed with carers and the organisations that represent them and we continue to work with the voluntary sector and other stakeholders in developing policies to support carers.

Since its publication, the strategy has achieved much in improving carers' access to breaks, information and support. Also, the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act will ensure that carers are able to take up opportunities which those without caring responsibilities take for granted.

In 2004 a new performance indicator for carers was approved. This ensures that councils recognise that support for carers continues to be a priority for the Government. The new performance indicator was published in autumn 2005 and was based on a six month data collection from September 2004 to March 2005.

The Carers Grant was introduced in 1999 to support councils in providing breaks and services for carers in England. The grant has been increased annually and has provided an extra £635m since 1999. The grant is worth £185m this year (06/07) and next year. This means that, by 2008, we will have invested over £1b in support for carers.

We have listened to the considerable public support for carers throughout our extensive consultation process prior to the publication of the White Paper, Our Health, our care, our say : a new direction for community services. The White Paper proposes a new deal for carers to improve support for them through a range of measures. On 21 February, I formally launched the new deal with the announcement of a multi-million package of support.

We are working to update and extend the Prime Minister's 1999 National Strategy for Carers to reflect developments in carers' rights, direct payment regulations and carers' assessments and grants. In addition, councils and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will be encouraged to nominate leads for carers' services.

The strategy review will involve all Government Departments which impact directly on the lives of carers. The Dept of Health will be taking the lead in co-ordination the development of what we hope will become the 2007 strategy. Group members will include a senior group of officials from across Whitehall as well as the Chief Executives of the three main carers' organisations. The carers' voice will therefore be at the heart of the new strategy, which will be a truly inclusive and collaborative venture.

The White Paper also announced our intention to establish a telephone helpline for carers, to enable them to get access to the detailed information they need. This will include information on legal entitlements, benefits and contact numbers for help groups and training in the caller's locality. We will provide £3m a year towards the establishment of the helpline and are currently working on a specification in collaboration with carers organisations. We plant to finalise a contract to deliver this service later in the year.

We will also proved up to £5m a year to fund an expert carers programme. This programme will provide training specifically designed for carers to help them develop the skills they need to provide safe and effective care and give them the knowledge and expertise to manage their own particular caring situation. The expert carers programme will be relevant to all carers and will reflect carers' own needs. It will give carers greater self-determination and a greater sense of empowerment.

We will ensure that short-term, home based respite support for carers in crisis or emergency situations is established in each council area. There is considerable evidence that the lack of planned alternative care provision in the event of anything untoward happening to the carer was one of the most important factors in limiting their freedom to have their own life.

We have been working with stakeholders to identify the key principles that should apply to the provision of such emergency respite care. We hope to be issuing guidance to local authorities in the summer and we are making £25m available to support the implementation of the guidance from October this year.

Carers are entitled to an assessment of their own needs as carers including their healthcare needs. PCT's are aware of this and liaise closely with social services in ensuring that full account is taken of carers' healthcare needs, which we recognise are often greater as a result of the demands of their caring role.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Ivan Lewis (Approved by the Minister's Private Office and signed electronically in his absence)



Paula
Hi Paula..

We all get the same Paula...apart from one or 2 slight differences yours and mine could be same reply.

I especially love this bit ......

signed electronically in his absence) .

Hope you and mam are well.
Rosemary
x x x
Hi Rosemary

The 'signed' bit made me smile - when I worked our RD's secretary used to put something similiar on his letters 'dictated by the RD but signed in his absence' - we tried to get her to change it to 'signed by the RD but dictated in his absence' but she wouldn't, spoilsport Image

Mum's fine, she's just listening to Tony Christie while it's time to put the football on the radio, we're relegated now so it doesn't matter if we win or not - I'm just going to wash the kitchen floor before it starts Image

Paula xx
Paula said

Mum's fine, she's just listening to Tony Christie
Better get the kettle on Paula....your mam is going to be knackered when she gets back from Amarillo...... Image Image Image
Not so much a response as a party political broadcast.

Whilst there's a lot of truth in it, it's a matter of scale. £1bn sounds like a lot, but taken over 9 years, during which time we've SAVED the government at least £467bn over the same period (using their figures), it sounds like an insult.

Maybe Paulah's mum isn't the only one living in Amarillo? Image
Paula said

Mum's fine, she's just listening to Tony Christie
Better get the kettle on Paula....your mam is going to be knackered when she gets back from Amarillo...... Image Image Image
That's just made Mum laugh Image
Not so much a response as a party political broadcast.

Whilst there's a lot of truth in it, it's a matter of scale. £1bn sounds like a lot, but taken over 9 years, during which time we've SAVED the government at least £467bn over the same period (using their figures), it sounds like an insult.

Maybe Paulah's mum isn't the only one living in Amarillo? Image
Not Amarillo Charles, I think Mr Lewis lives on Fantasy Island Image
Not Amarillo Charles, I think Mr Lewis lives on Fantasy Island Image
All politicians seem to live there, Paula.