What support has the SNP provided for carers?
The SNP recognises that carers do an invaluable job and when Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, she made it very clear that carers’ rights would be a focus for her government.
The SNP Government has invested around £122 million in programmes to support carers – which is more than ever before. Since 2010 we’ve invested £17 million in short breaks to give carers and cared-for people the opportunity to relax without feeling stress or guilt. The Carers Parliament has also been established which provides carers, young carers, and carer representatives from across Scotland the opportunity to discuss and debate matters important to them.
The Carers (Scotland) Act was passed in 2016 and enshrines carers’ rights in law for the first time in Scotland. The Act will help the Scottish Government in its drive to move towards preventative action – enabling carers to ask for the support that they need and implementing emergency planning in the care plan process. Other key measures in the Act include:
✔️ The introduction of a new Adult Carer Support Plan and Young Carer Statement;
✔️ The introduction of a duty on local authorities to support carers where their needs meet local criteria; and
✔️ Placing a duty on local authorities to involve carers and their representatives in the planning and delivery of support and services
The SNP strongly believes that carers deserve greater recognition and better rights - the Carers Act is a strong statement of our commitment to this. We intend to build on this and will consider a national or regional approach to supporting carers and cared-for people, including the availability of short breaks for carers and how they can be guaranteed.
We have introduced a Social Security Bill, which if passed will see us take the first steps towards a distinctive Scottish social security system based on dignity and respect.
Recruitment has begun for a new Young Carers Panel, which will ensure that our social security system is influenced by the real life experience of young carers.
From this Summer we will increase Carer’s Allowance so that it is paid at the same level as Jobseekers' Allowance - with payments backdated to April. And from autumn 2019 we will introduce a Young Carer’s Grant to provide extra support for young people with significant caring responsibilities.
We are also committed to increasing Carer’s Allowance for those who look after more than one disabled child and we’ll extend the eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment to families with children in receipt of the highest care component of Disability Living Allowance.