§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to make the earnings limit for carers on income support equivalent to the earnings limit for invalid care allowance; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
There is no fixed limit to the amount a carer can earn and continue to receive income support. Carers are exempt from the normal income support remunerative work rule. This means that they can continue to receive income support to top-up their earnings even if they work more than 16 hours each week. The first £15 of a carer's earnings is disregarded in the income support calculation. Most other groups can earn only £5 before their benefit is affected.
The invalid care allowance (ICA) earnings limit is fixed at £50 per week, after the deduction of certain expenses. It is intended to help carers keep contact with employment. However, unlike income support, ICA is not an income-related benefit. People with earnings below the earnings limit can get ICA in full but people whose earnings are above the limit cannot get ICA at all.
We have no plans to change these limits at present but are keeping the position of carers under review.