Would you recognise the work done by carers?

Caring for carers
There are more than 600,000 carers in Scotland and the number is growing rapidly. The SNP appreciates that for many, becoming a carer involves considerable life-changes; not being able to work, reduced household income, new barriers to accessing education and training, and even simple leisure opportunities. So, as a start to addressing this, the SNP will promote improved flexibility in education, training, and employment.

It is important that government acknowledges the role of carers as central to Scotland’s social well being, and greater priority must be given when considering service provision. In particular, the availability of respite care is insufficient. We will examine what reforms and resources are necessary to improve availability and ensure that the respite care provided matches the standard and nature required.

Support available to carers also varies from area to area. Carers often fall between the responsibility of Health Boards and Local Authorities, and greater strategic planning and co-operation at all levels is necessary to ensure that service provision matches need. Similarly advice and information to carers about the assistance to which they are entitled is essential.

The SNP is committed to income maximisation. Following the example of the success of Benefit Entitlement Promotion campaigns in our Local Authorities, we will take steps to ensure that carers are accessing all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Even with full access to benefit entitlement, however, the current Westminster benefits arrangements cannot lift many carers out of poverty. With Independence, we would have the power to tackle this shortcoming through our comprehensive review of tax and benefits.

We will implement these policies because we recognise that carers are central to Scotland’s social well being.

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