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Putting carers first

Published: 9 Jun 2016 09:30

New support for carers being considered for when powers are devolved.

The introduction of a Young Carer's Allowance to give young people extra financial support, will be considered by the Scottish Government, Scottish Ministers have confirmed during Carers Week.

Under UK Government guidelines only 250 people in Scotland under the age of 18 receive Carer's Allowance.

Carer advisory groups will now be asked to put forward their views on whether a Young Carer's Allowance could help people who would have previously lost out on financial support.

As part of this work the Scottish Government will also look at what non-financial support is currently available and identify any gaps.

It has already been confirmed that once powers are devolved, the Scottish Government will begin to increase Carer's Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker's Allowance. That is almost an 18% increase.

Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman discussed the proposals when she visited the Voice of Carers Across Lothian (VOCAL) project in Edinburgh.

She met with carers ahead of the Scottish Government Debate on Dignity, Fairness and Respect in Disability Benefits. She said:

"We have already made our commitment that carers will be £600 better off a year when we raise Carer's Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker's Allowance, but we also need to make sure that young carers do not lose out.

"It is unfair that some young people who have the responsibility and pressure of caring for a loved one may experience financial difficulties. That is why we will now consider whether a Young Carer's Allowance could bridge that gap in support.

"Once we have the powers, the principles of treating people with dignity and respect will be our touchstone as we deliver our part of social security in Scotland."

The Minister for Public Health Aileen Campbell also took part in Carers Week activities and met with young adult carers at Queen Margaret University. She said:

"Across Scotland there are 44,000 young carers who currently balance their education with their caring responsibilities. We want all young people to have the same chances and opportunities to fulfil their potential.

"That is why over the coming months we will be working with carers to find out if there is merit in a Young Carer's Allowance, and will be looking for their help and views on shaping the Carer's Allowance.

"It is only by meeting and hearing from carers first hand that we can really get an appreciation of the specific challenges they face and how their lives could be improved."

Notes to editors

More information on Carers Week, the annual campaign to raise awareness of caring is available at: http://www.carersweek.org/

Current UK Government Carer's Allowance eligibility restricts it to people over the age of 16 who spend 35 hours a week caring, earn less than £110 a week and are not in full-time education

More information on the devolved social security powers can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/fairerscotland/future-powers