Patrick Grady, SNP MP for Glasgow North, has backed calls for the UK Government to devolve the powers needed to support Scotland’s carers.
The Smith Commission stated that the Scottish Parliament should have “complete autonomy in determining the structure and value of the benefits at paragraph 49 or any new benefits or services which might replace them” – this includes Carers Allowance.
However, in its current form the UK Government's Scotland Bill appears to restrict how the Scottish Government can support carers – by defining them as over 16 and not in full time education or employment.
In addition to this, the roll out of Personal Independence Payments will impact carers currently receiving Carers Allowance and Disability Living Allowance – with some expected not to be eligible for any support at all under the new system.
There are an estimated 759,000 carers in Scotland – and around 29,000 of these are young carers aged under 16.
The Scottish Government is working to provide more support for carers – and the Carers Bill currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament will enshrine carers’ rights in law for the first time. It will also build on the £114 million funding the SNP Government has invested in programmes to support carers, and every carer will be entitled to their own support plan.
But harsh Tory welfare cuts threaten to undermine the good progress being made in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MP for Glasgow North, Patrick Grady, said: “Carers play such a vital role in looking after loved ones – and we owe them a massive debt of gratitude. I've signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons to put on record the thanks of MPs for all the work carers do in Scotland and across the country.
“Sadly, the Scotland Bill in its current form falls far short of the powers Scotland needs to thrive – and fails to meet even the powers set out in the Smith Commission. It also appears to restrict how the Scottish Government can support carers – by defining them as over 16 and not in full time education or employment. This could put obstacles in the way of the Scottish Government being able to mitigate the impact of the roll out of Personal Independence Payments.
“Scotland’s carers can’t afford Tory cuts to their support – we need full powers over social security in Scotland to allow us to protect, support and empower people who need help, rather than pushing them into poverty with punitive cuts and sanctions as the Tories are continuing to do.
TEXT OF EDM 85: SUPPORTING SCOTLAND'S CARERS That this House supports Scotland's 759,000 carers and thanks them, and the millions of unpaid carers across the UK, for the unwavering work that they do; recognises and gives its full support to Carers Week from 8 to 14 June 2015; congratulates third sector organisations, such as Carers Scotland, MND Scotland and Renfrewshire Carers Centre, for the crucial support that they provide to our carers; notes that, despite the extensive work of aforementioned organisations, there are a significant number of carers who remain unidentified and unsupported; condemns the Government for the devastating impact that the rollout of the Personal Independent Payment will have on carers and their families, with many losing the right to receive Carer's Allowance as a result of a change in the eligibility for the benefit; further supports calls for an increase in Carer's Allowance to match the current rate of Jobseeker's Allowance; and calls on the Government to abandon its commitment to proceed with a further £12 billion of cuts to the social security budget, as further cuts will only serve to exacerbate the devastating impact on the lives of people living with disabilities and the people who care for them, instead of providing support and ensuring dignity in living.