Carers must be better recognised in the next Scottish Parliament with guaranteed respite support and a renewed 2016 Carer's Act to learn the lessons of the pandemic, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.
Rosemary Bruce, the Scottish Liberal Democrat's top candidate for the North East, said “people who care for others – whether paid or unpaid, young or old – do a remarkable job and deserve our support.”
According to the latest government figures, over a third of carers across the four local authority areas of the North East region are unpaid. That is a total of 4026 not receiving their entitled allowance. For every carer, Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a UK-wide uplift of the Carer’s Allowance of £1,000-a-year.
Other proposals in the Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto to transform support for carers include a new right to flexible working hours, new carer benefits including free leisure centre access and financial assistance to support adjustment and training when caring roles end.
Rosemary Bruce, who is also the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Aberdeenshire West, said:
“People who care for others – whether paid or unpaid, young or old – do a remarkable job and deserve our support.
“With transformative plans to guarantee respite and increase financial support, Scottish Liberal Democrats will lead the way to a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic. We should be approaching caring with a fresh sense of urgency."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie added:
“Too often I hear stories of carers relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for. Just imagine how much harder it has been with the brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding and paired back support services.
"It doesn't have to stay this way. With a Scottish Government ready to focus all its energy on putting recovery first, there is a real opportunity for change.
Notes to editors:
Number of people entitled to & receiving Carer's Allowance by Local Authority, May 2020
|Source: DWP Stat-Xplore|
The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto stats:
We support an enhanced Carers Allowance in Scotland and are campaigning for a UK-wide uplift of £1,000 per year to recognise the value of carers. We will make it easier financially for carers to access education and training.
We will recognise unpaid carers with guaranteed respite support for them, and give support for those who want to continue in employment.
We will give carers the right to flexible working hours where it is in our power to grant this so they can balance employment and caring responsibilities.
We will work with local government to introduce a package of carer benefits including free leisure centre access and self-referral to socially prescribed activities and courses.
We will also extend the support and financial assistance available to carers following a bereavement that means their caring role comes to an end, recognising the need to both grieve and adjust.
We will provide information and support to carers following the end of their caring role. This will include a new fund to support training and education for carers returning to work after caring. We will extend eligibility for financial support for up to six months after a person’s caring role comes to an end.
We will engage carers and service users in an update of the 2016 Carers Act in order to improve it in the light of lessons from the pandemic.
The public can back the campaign by visiting https://change.libdems.org.uk/carers
Local statistics on the number of claimants eligible for and receiving Carer’s Allowance in May 2020 are attached.
In Scotland, carers also receive a Carer’s Allowance Supplement worth £8.83 a week. The Liberal Democrat proposals would not affect this Supplement.