We would like to congratulate the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens on their success in the recent election. With an estimated 690,000 carers in Scotland, carers represent a huge part of our country’s population. According to a 2020 report by Oxfam, unpaid care work is valued at £36 billion. These figures illustrate the enormous impact of carers in supporting our economy and public services.

Carer support must remain on the agenda, which is why we are calling on the new government to keep their promises to carers. The Scottish National Party committed to:

  • Introduce Carer’s Assistance to replace the current Carer’s Allowance – increase the value of the payment, (if there’s a guarantee from the UK government that they will not take back the extra payment).
  • Payment for anyone looking after more than one disabled person an extra £10 per week benefiting around 16,350 carers.
  • Following the death of a cared-for person, Carer’s Assistance will be paid for 12 weeks instead of 8, helping over 4,000 carers.
  • Until Carer’s Assistance is introduced, the Carer’s Allowance Supplement will continue to ensure carers receive an income that is equivalent to Job Seekers Allowance.
  • Award a double payment of Carer’s Allowance Supplement this year, worth £460.
  • Use the introduction of Carer’s Assistance to make sure carers are given information on the support available to them and invest in carers centres across the country.
  • Continue the yearly £300 payment for young carers.
  • Provide thousands of vouchers for short breaks and days out to carers, people with disabilities and families on low incomes.

You can read the full manifesto here. The supplementary carer manifesto is available here.

The Scottish Greens committed to:

  • Recognise the value of unpaid carers and ensure they have access to the training, equipment and respite breaks they need.
  • Introduce health checks and access to flexible healthcare appointments for unpaid carers.
  • Review of Disability Assistance and Carer’s Assistance. This will examine what changes are needed and consider a lower caring hours threshold and more flexible earnings limit.
  • Immediately increase the Carer’s Allowance top-up to £105 a week.
  • Examine the feasibility of providing an extra payment to those caring for more than one person and of introducing a Carer Recognition Payment for those not able to claim Carer’s Assistance due to the ‘overlapping benefits’ rule.
  • Double the Young Carer Grant to £600 a year and expand eligibility, by, for example, ensuring that sibling carers and other young people who care together can both receive the payment.

You can read the full Scottish Greens manifesto on their website.

Carers need to be part of these conversations, to ensure your needs and views are represented at all levels. As the Voice of Carers Across Lothian, we will hold both parties accountable, ensuring you are supported to carry out your caring role with the necessary resources and services, with your own health and wellbeing protected.