Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lilley Welcomes new rights for carers

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today welcomed new legislation that will give new rights to the many people in Hitchin and Harpenden who look after a sick, frail or disabled relative or partner.

    The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004, was a Private Member?s Bill, introduced by Dr Hywel Francis MP, which passed through parliament thanks to support from all parties.

    The Act:
    * places a duty on social services to inform carers of their right to an assessment
    * places a duty on social services to ensure a carer‘s wishes for employment, learning or training opportunities and leisure are considered as part of the carer‘s assessment
    * gives a power for social services to call on the help of other bodies in providing support to carers.

    Peter Lilley said: “A staggering 2.3 million people in the UK become carers every year. The new legislation will mean that the local authority now has a duty to inform carers of their right to an assessment, so that people no longer miss out on support simply because they don?t know they?re entitled to it.

    “The Act will should also help carers have a life outside caring, including improving work and training opportunities and access to leisure. This is a really important step towards ensuring that carers own health and well-being are given priority.

    ?If carers need more information about their new rights they can call the Carers UK hotline ? 020 7566 7626 ? for a free booklet ?Balancing Life and Caring?.?

    Copies of the booklet and further information on carers issues are available at Carers UK?s website at: www.carersuk.org.


    Notes for Editors

    1. To calculate the number of carers in a constituency, the population of adults should be multiplied by 0.16. For example: Sedgefield has an electorate of 64,925 X 0.16 would equal 10,388 carers.

    2. The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act was a Private Member?s Bill, introduced by Dr Hywel Francis MP. The Act, which comes into force from 1 April 2005, will give carers new opportunities for work, life-long learning, leisure and information.

    3. Carers UK?s Action for Carers and Employment project, which seeks to identify and break down some of the barriers that carers face whilst trying to stay in or return to employment, has some good practice case studies around the issue of carers and work and carers? access to training. Visit www.acecarers.org.uk.

    4. The ?Balancing Life and Caring? booklet is produced by Carers UK with the support of British Gas and the Department of Health.