SNP Manifesto 2021: What we’re doing for carers

Unpaid carers make an immense contribution to the health and wellbeing of loved ones. We believe it is essential that carers have the support they need to provide care and have a fulfilling life.

Make it Both Votes SNP to:

Better financial support for carers

We will introduce Carers Assistance to replace the current Carers Allowance. We will increase the value of the payment, provided we can guarantee the UK government will not claw back the extra payment which would leave carers worse off.

We will pay anyone looking after more than one disabled person an extra £10 per week benefiting around 16,350 carers – this matches the extra support carers of more than one disabled child receive.

We also know that when a carer loses someone they have cared for, they need to be supported, so following the death of a cared-for person, we will pay Carers Assistance for 12 weeks instead of just 8, helping over 4,000 carers.

Until Carers Assistance is introduced, we will continue to pay the Carers Allowance Supplement to ensure carers receive an income that is equivalent to Job Seekers Allowance.

Recognise the contribution of care

We will build on our work to create a wellbeing economy, by developing measures of economic performance that take proper account of the contribution and cost of formal and informal care.

This will help to ensure that we do not take care, which though not exclusively, is so often done by women, for granted.

In recognition of the extra burden the pandemic has placed on carers, we will award a double payment of Carers Allowance Supplement this year, worth £460.

Increase additional support

We will also use the introduction of Carers Assistance to make sure carers are given information on the support available to them and we will invest in carers centres across the country.

Continue our Young Carer Grant

We will continue our yearly £300 payment for young carers to improve quality of life, helping them take part in employment, social or leisure opportunities.

Provide respite for carers

We will provide thousands of vouchers for short breaks and days out to carers, people with disabilities and families on low incomes.

Improve mental health support

We will increase Scottish Government direct investment in mental health by at least 25%, ensuring that by the end of the parliament, 10% of our frontline NHS budget will be invested in mental health services.

We will build on the success of our community link worker programme, to ensure every GP practice in the country has access to a dedicated mental wellbeing link worker, creating a network of 1,000 additional dedicated staff who can help grow community mental health resilience and help direct social prescribing.

Create a National Care Service

To ensure our social care system consistently delivers high quality services across Scotland, we will establish a National Care Service.

The National Care Service will oversee the delivery of care, improve standards, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers and provide better support for unpaid carers.

As part of a rights-based approach to care, we will strengthen residents rights in adult residential settings.

This will include delivering ‘Anne’s Law’ – giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff while following stringent infection control procedures, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland.

Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodiversity

We will bring forward a Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodiversity Bill to delineate support and services from existing mental health legislation and ensure that human rights are protected and promoted.

To help make sure the new legislation is championed when it is implemented we will create a Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodiversity Commissioner through the new law.

We will work with people with lived experience on an inclusive approach to ensure the Commissioner can safeguard their rights.

Keep the Promise

We know that some carers are also care experienced themselves. We will Keep the Promise – the plan to improve our care system.

We recognise the need for care experienced young people to have “Scaffolding”, the support that helps young people transition into adulthood.

In line with the SNP’s commitment to Keep the Promise, we will invest £10 million to establish a new Care Experienced Grant.

This will be an annual grant of £200 paid to support around 50,000 young care experienced people between the ages of 16 and 26 – who often don’t have access to the ‘bank of mum and dad’ – with £2000 over a decade as they enter adulthood.