Caring for the carers

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Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman on need to increase support for carers

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3rd August 2017 by TFN Guest 1 Comment

I am truly struck by the immense contribution made to society by carers, who dedicate much of their time to caring for family members.

They deserve not only our thanks and respect. They also deserve financial support that recognises the crucial role they play.

Carers Scotland estimate that carers save our economy more than £10 billion per year. So the least we can do is ensure they receive fairer financial support.

That’s why we have pledged to increase Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance, when Scotland takes on new social security powers.

Based on current allowances, this would mean an increase of almost 15%, from £62.70 per week to £73.10 per week. We will start this in summer 2018 and will backdate payments to April of that year.

But it’s not just adults that have caring responsibilities. Young carers, in particular, often make significant personal sacrifices to look after loved ones.

This week, the tenth annual Young Carers Festival is taking place, bringing together around 600 young people from across the country for three days of respite and consultation.

The event also gives them a national voice and raises the profile of this group.

Over the past decade the Scottish Government has provided more than £2 million to support the festival. 

Events like these – as well as support from organisations like the Carers Trust Scotland – give young carers a much needed respite and a chance to spend time with those in similar circumstances. And more than anything, to have fun.

Scotland has an estimated 49,000 young adults, aged 16-24, who are carers – yet less than one in 10 receive Carer’s Allowance. The Scottish Government has teamed up with Young Scot and launched a social media campaign to reach young adults who may be missing out.

In addition to advice on applying for Carer’s Allowance, the campaign signposts to information sources and local support services, as well as videos of young people sharing their experiences.

The UK benefit system continues to fail in ensuring those entitled to support know that they are – and how to get it. It’s simply not right that carers have the added worry of financial pressures along with their caring responsibilities.

So we are determined to do things differently in Scotland, placing dignity, respect and fairness at the heart of our social security policy – a marked contrast to the UK government’s approach, which continues to push more people into poverty.

What Scotland needs – and I am determined we will have – is a person-centred and compassionate system, which helps all those people, including carers, who require support.

Comments

4th August 2017 by Laura gilmour

I look after my boy who recieves esa due to a uncontrolled bowel.i work but have to come home every lunchtime as he suffers from major depression also..i find it very very hard to cope.can you let me know what i can do