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.

Scotland’s new social security system made its first payments in September 2018, delivering the Carer’s Allowance Supplement. This increases the Carer’s Allowance by 13% and is an investment of more than £30 million a year to support carers in Scotland.

To recognise higher costs of living, we will also increase Carer’s Allowance further for those looking after more than one disabled child, as well as extending Winter Fuel Payments to families who have severely disabled children.

We will also abolish the 84 day-rule, which currently means that severely ill or disabled children needing more than 84 days hospitalisation or medical treatment lose both Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance.

In 2019 we will make the first payments under our £300 per year Young Carer Grant.