Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Warner: My Lords, I am sure that that will be examined, as part of the work being done in the department.

Lord Laming: My Lords, what are the Government doing to highlight the special needs of the growing number of young people who are, sometimes, the principal carer in the family to ensure that their needs are identified and that they are given proper support in the formative years of their life?

Lord Warner: My Lords, young carers are in a difficult situation. The Government have been working to improve the support that is given to them. That work will continue.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, have the Government anything in mind for improving the supply of professional carers? Has the Minister anything in mind for improving the facilities for offering training to family members who act as carers? Frequently, such people have no training and no idea of what their responsibilities may be, in the case of a family member who is, perhaps, injured. When that person leaves hospital, the situation comes upon the carer suddenly. What help do the Government have in mind?

Lord Warner: My Lords, the Government have hugely increased the amount of money available for health and social care, which has led to a large increase in the number of staff who would be described as professional carers in the sense in which the noble Lord uses the term.

Social services, in particular, work to help family members who care for people at home and to provide the advice and support necessary in those circumstances.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: My Lords, my question follows on from that asked by the noble Lord,

4 Dec 2003 : Column 486

Lord Tebbit. Does the Minister think that it is the right of carers to be taught safe lifting and handling techniques, if they care for somebody with mobility problems?

Lord Warner: My Lords, that is all part of the assessment done by social services, when they come to examine the needs of a person with a disability or condition that needs care support in the home. In their assessment, they will take into account the ability of an informal carer to cope.

Baroness Howells of St Davids: My Lords, I am sure that the Minister is aware that more than 300,000 carers miss out on claiming the carer's allowance because they do not know about it. Does the Minister think that social services departments should be more proactive in encouraging carers to claim?

Lord Warner: My Lords, we know that there is a problem, but there has been a huge increase in the number of people who claim the allowance. If last year's experience is anything to go by, carers' rights day will help improve that number.

Responsibility for the carer's allowance rests with the Department for Work and Pensions. It will bring in better claim packs for those benefits in order to simplify the claiming process. The Government will continue to work with councils and the voluntary sector to improve take-up.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the arrangements for social security payments for adults caring for young people with behaviour problems are so complex that it is almost impossible for them to receive their entitlement? I have been lobbied by someone who has two children with identical needs but cannot get the same arrangements for them.

Lord Warner: My Lords, I do not claim to be an expert in the area, but I shall look into the matter and write to the noble Baroness.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, as someone who has only recently become a carer, may I bring up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, about people leaving hospital? The person whom I look after left hospital just before 1st October, so the arrangements did not apply. Is it now the case that each person who is to look after someone leaving hospital is given a note about their rights and entitlements? I had no idea that I had any rights or entitlements; I may not have.

Lord Warner: My Lords, I shall examine the noble Baroness's circumstances and see whether she was dealt with appropriately. I shall write to her.

Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, it is welcome that the carer's allowance has been extended to people over retirement age. However, because of the financial rules, it is an incredibly complicated process, taking in pension

4 Dec 2003 : Column 487

arrangements, the minimum income guarantee and so on. I am delighted to hear the Minister say that the Department for Work and Pensions is looking into it and will send out new information.

That is all very well from the point of view of administrators. The important thing is that it should be read and understood by the recipients. That has not always been the history of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Lord Warner: My Lords, I recall that the Department for Work and Pensions has a good record of subjecting its guidance to the scrutiny of the Plain English Campaign.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, is there, in accordance with the principles of e-government, a website that carers can log on to, input details of their circumstances and get information about their entitlements? If there is, will the Minister give us the URL?

Lord Warner: My Lords, a number of websites is available to carers. They have been developed with Carers UK and other voluntary organisations. I am not familiar with all the websites of the Department for Work and Pensions. I shall look into the matter and write to the noble Lord.

The Earl of Listowel: My Lords, is there a mechanism in the noble Lord's department for recognising, when a person is assessed for health needs, that a child may be involved in caring for that person and for flagging up that fact with other departments, without breaching confidentiality with the patient? Is that an aim of the Green Paper? Is the Minister aware of any current mechanism for that?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I am not aware of any mechanisms in the department, but I would have thought that that was a matter for local social services departments, in assessing the circumstances of a carer.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern: My Lords, can the Minister give us an estimate of the number of young people in England and Wales or the United Kingdom who are carers?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I do not have the number immediately available, but I know that it is available. I will be happy to write to the noble and learned Lord.

The Lord Chancellor: Leave of Absence

3.30 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): My Lords, may I take the opportunity to inform the House that I will be attending a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9th December? Accordingly, I trust that the House will grant me leave of absence.

4 Dec 2003 : Column 488

Business of the House: Thursday, 18th December

Lord Grocott: My Lords, I should like to make the usual comment about the last day before the Recess; that is, Thursday 18th December. The usual channels have agreed that the House should sit at 11 o'clock, with Starred Questions as first business and with no break at lunch.

Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to amend Part 1 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 to make further provision concerning the Public Prosecution Service established by that Act; to impose a new duty on certain criminal justice organisations in Northern Ireland in relation to human rights standards; to make provision consequential on the dissolution of the Juvenile Justice Board; to amend the law relating to bail in Northern Ireland; to provide for the transfer of certain prisoners from Northern Ireland to England and Wales; to amend Section 103 of the Terrorism Act 2000; to provide for driving while disqualified to be an arrestable offence in Northern Ireland; to re-enact, with amendments, Sections 79 to 81 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 and to make further provision about court security officers in Northern Ireland; and to enable barristers in Northern Ireland to enter into contracts for the provision of their services; and for connected purposes. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—(Baroness Amos.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

Administration and Works

Information

Refreshment

Works of Art

3.31 p.m.

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I beg to move the four Motions standing in my name on the Order Paper en bloc. Administration and Works

Moved, That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords together with the Chairman of Committees be named of the committee;

L. Cope of Berkeley

L. Craig of Radley

B. Darcy de Knayth

4 Dec 2003 : Column 489

L. Dixon

L. Grocott

Bp. Guildford

L. Kirkham

B. McFarlane of Llandaff

E. Mar and Kellie

L. Roper

L. Shaw of Northstead

B. Wilkins;

That the committee have leave to report from time to time.

Information

Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to consider information and communications services, including the Library and the Parliamentary Archives, within financial limits approved by the House Committee;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords be named of the committee;

L. Avebury

L. Baker of Dorking (Chairman)

L. Brougham and Vaux

L. Burnham

E. Erroll

B. Gale

B. Gardner of Parkes

B. Goudie

L. Haskel

L. Mitchell

L. Rodger of Earlsferry

E. Sandwich

L. Smith of Clifton;

That the committee have leave to report from time to time.

Refreshment

Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to advise on the refreshment services provided for the House, within financial limits approved by the House Committee;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords be named of the committee;

L. Borrie

L. Burnham

B. Fookes (Chairman)

L. Grocott

B. Harris of Richmond

L. Palmer

B. Pitkeathley

L. Redesdale

B. Rendell of Babergh

Ly. Saltoun of Abernethy

B. Strange

L. Wade of Chorlton;

That the committee have leave to report from time to time. Works of Art

Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to administer the House of Lords Works of Art Collection Fund; and to consider matters relating to

4 Dec 2003 : Column 490

works of art in the House of Lords, within financial limits approved by the House Committee;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords be named of the committee;

L. Bernstein of Craigweil

V. Chandos

L. Cobbold

L. Crathorne (Chairman)

L. Eames

L. Luke

L. Redesdale

L. Rees

L. Rees-Mogg

L. Tordoff

B. Trumpington

B. Warwick of Undercliffe;

That the committee have leave to report from time to time.—(The Chairman of Committees.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page