Boosting the income of carers by widening the eligibility for Carer’s Allowance and providing a specific Young Carer's Allowance would show that Scotland understands the costs and stresses of caring.Alison Johnstone MSP
Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (16 Aug) said a survey showing more than three-quarters of unpaid carers in Scotland feel lonely or socially isolated underlines the need for greater support, such as the Green MSPs' proposal of a Young Carer's Allowance.
The study of 648 carers across Scotland for charities Carers Scotland and Carers UK found that having little time or money to socialise was one of the main reasons for feelings of loneliness or social isolation, with the most popular solutions including having regular breaks, being able to take part in leisure activities and support in paying for these activities.
In June, Alison Johnstone wrote to Social Security minister Jeane Freeman, pointing out that of the 49,000 carers aged 16-24 in Scotland only around 7,000 provide enough hours of care under the current rules to qualify for Carer's Allowance. She also asked for an update on the Green manifesto pledge of a Young Carer’s Allowance, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last year her government would consider introducing.
The minister has since responded, saying that an expert group is looking at changes that could be made to eligibility, and that an announcement on Young Carer's Allowance will be made in the near future.
Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:
“Carers play a vital role in our society and too often go unrecognised and unsupported. Today's survey underlines the need for greater support to tackle the social isolation they often feel.
"Boosting the income of carers by widening the eligibility for Carer’s Allowance and providing a specific Young Carer's Allowance would show that Scotland understands the costs and stresses of caring. The devolution of social security powers is a huge opportunity, and I will continue to press the case with Scottish Ministers."