The Scottish Conservatives have long been a champion for carers in the Scottish Parliament. In 2016 we succeeded in passing an amendment to the Carers’ Bill which required local authorities to provide short breaks, and ensuring that a person’s care plan must be agreed as soon as possible before they leave hospital and with the involvement of the carer. Although not well-implemented by the SNP, this should have given carers some much needed time away, benefiting their quality of life and wellbeing.
Carers are the backbone of our social care system, yet they often go unrecognised. The vital work they undertake daily must never be taken for granted. Scotland’s carers must be properly looked after and that’s why the Scottish Conservatives will introduce a package of practical support.
In our manifesto the Scottish Conservatives put forward proposals to improve the Carers Allowance. We would introduce a taper rate so that carers do not lose 100 per cent of their allowance if they earn £1 over the £128 per week limit on earnings. We will also extend payments of Carers Allowance to up to six months after bereavement and allow carers in full time education to continue to receive Carer’s Allowance. Carers are
currently only given two months of payments after a bereavement, so we would extend this by four months so that payments continued up to six months. We will ensure that existing carers legislation is fully funded and implemented, and services for unpaid carers are joined up to prevent carers falling through the cracks.
More recently, we were pleased to support the Carers Allowance Supplement Bill to provide unpaid carers with a double-payment of the Carers Allowance Supplement this December. However, we were disappointed that the SNP and Greens both voted down our amendments that would have seen this double-payment made
Regarding a £15 minimum wage for carers, we welcome the Feeley Review into adult social care and support many of the recommendations within it which would improve the employment conditions of care workers. We would work with the sector to design reforms focused on putting Scotland’s social care system on a sustainable footing.