Parliamentary debate: 'National Carers Week and respite for carers'

Sharing your experiences of providing unpaid care

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On Thursday 8 June 2023, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP led a Backbench Business debate to mark National Carers Week.

To inform her debate, she asked to hear from unpaid carers: their experiences of providing care, and their insights into how they can be supported.

She thanked everyone who shared their stories:

"I'd like to say a sincere thank you to all 932 people who responded to the survey for my debate.
"Many of you shared some very moving experiences of providing unpaid care, and insights into how you could be better supported.
"As you will see, I read out several of your stories in the House of Commons Chamber, and, along with other MPs, discussed many of the issues which were raised in your responses to the survey.
"You can use the links on this page to read the transcript of the debate on Hansard, or watch it on
"Thank you again for taking the time to contribute."
Dame Caroline Dinenage MP
Image of Dame Caroline Dinenage MP

Watch or read the debate

Contributors' stories read out:


If you took part in this activity, please answer three quick questions about how it worked for you:

Read the full debate transcript:

Link to the debate transcript

Watch the full debate:

Link to watch the debate

The Government's response

The Minister for Social Care, Helen Whatley MP, responded to the debate on behalf of the Government. She addressed the Government’s current policy agenda and future ambitions related to the debate topic. 

Watch or read her full speech for details where she covers a range of topics including:    

  • The Carer’s Leave Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 24 May. This Act will enable unnpaid carers who are also in paid work to take a week’s flexible unpaid leave each year
  • The reform plan, “Next steps to put People at the Heart of Care”, which sets out progress in implementing the December 2021 White Paper on wider adult social care reform: People at the Heart of Care. The plan repeated the commitment to provide an additional £25 million for unpaid carers. The Minister said the plan for delivering this will be shared “shortly”.
  • The Better Care Fund, which has designated £327 million this financial year to provide short breaks and respite services, as well as additional advice and support 
  • The Health and Care Act 2022, which includes provisions for the Care Quality Commission to assess the performance of local authority delivery of adult social care duties 
  • The Autumn statement 2022, where the Government announced up to £7.5 billion funding over two years for adult social care. 

For more information, these topics are covered in the House of Commons Library briefing on informal carers.

Your feedback

"I came across the survey via Carers UK. I decided to fill it in after the experiences my wife and I faced. I wanted to try and help make a difference to those facing similar situations, and not endure what we've had to.
"My reaction to my quote being used was: 'at last, I'm being heard, I'm being listened to.' The difference I wanted to make to help others was finally being heard.
"I have made family and friends aware; they know the struggles we have faced. They were pleased for us.
"I've not yet seen any difference - time will tell. I did this as a 'silent hero'. I want no gain or recognition. If my contribution makes a difference - that is recognition and reward enough for me."
Gary, Lincolnshire
A photo of Gary with his wife, Natasha.

Gary and his wife, Natasha.

Gary and his wife, Natasha.

How it works

How your contributions are shared

In these exercises, members of the public who have signed relevant petitions or are subscribed to parliamentary newsletters are invited to share their experiences and ideas.

These are passed on to the MP leading the debate, who may refer to them directly in their speeches.

Find other petitions on the Petitions website

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What happens next?

If you shared your email in the survey, we’ll send you an update after the debate with links to watch it, read the transcript, and information about the Government's response.

Lisa, Ian and Charlotte contributed to previous debates on topics like the menopause and pensions advice:

What are Backbench Business debates?

Backbench Business debates give backbenchers (MPs of any party who are not ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the House of Commons Chamber or in Westminster Hall.

 MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears and decides which debates to schedule.

The debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This was a general debate.

Parliamentary resources

Relevant research from the House of Commons Library:

Relevant committee inquires:

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Photo credit: UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor