The Scottish Green Party recognise how important it is that the government looks after those who dedicate their time to caring for others, whether it be as a paid carer in a care home or home caring company, or those who look after friends or relatives. The current provisions for people in these positions are inadequate and frankly disrespectful to the essential services that these people provide. The Scottish Green party have several policies that work to support carers, here are the top 5:
1. Better pay for paid carers.
People who work in social care, in people’s homes and in care homes, do vital work in every community. Despite this it is one of the lowest paid sectors and, because of the amount of women in these roles, this is largely responsible for the nation wide gender pay gap. When elected Green MSPs will campaign for paid carers to earn significantly more than the living wage.
2. Better conditions.
It is vital that better working conditions are put in place for carers, in order to ensure that they don’t have any work place concerns other than getting care to the person that needs it. Green MSPs will demand paid travel time, sick leave, an end to ‘Zero Hours’ care worker contracts, and extra skills training.
3. A better deal for unpaid carers.
It is estimated that there are over 788,000 people in Scotland who are providing unpaid care to family members and friends. More than half of working-age unpaid carers have to balance caring alongside a paid job. Some do not have this option, and are forced to give up a paid position in order to look after their friend or relative, and if they are lucky enough to be able to keep their job, they often have to take less hours and so are forced to turn down promotions. Unpaid carers tend to be female, and the sheer number of them furthers the female wage gap dramatically. Recent legislation means that power to increase the Carer’s Allowance will soon be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and when this happens the Scottish Greens will campaign for a 50% increase in payments.
4. A fair Carer’s Allowance.
Carers have enough on their plate without having to worry about financial stress and excess paperwork, so the Scottish Greens support a redesign of the Carer’s Allowance to make sure that this is taken into account. They want to include a lower threshold for hours of care, and extra money for those who look after more than one person. Whilst doing this they will make it a requirement that any increase in payments does not reduce other any benefits that a person receives, and they will also push for the exclusion of Carer's Allowance from income related assessments.
5. Carers’ Rights at the heart of government.
Paid or unpaid, all carers are equally important. New carers’ legislation that requires local authorities to identify the needs of every carer and create an individual support plan for them. The Scottish Greens will campaign for that enough resources are given so that this can be implemented fully, and so that it takes into account replacement care, short breaks, health checks and concessionary travel. The Scottish Greens also back the creation of an independent social care tribunal system, so that carers are able to access information about their rights. As well as working-age carers, there are many young carers in Scotland. The voices of young carers are not being heard in the current system, and they are not receiving the support they deserve, the Scottish Greens will campaign to make sure this is no longer the case and that young carers are given the respect they deserve.