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Financial impact on carers

Third annual Carers’ Parliament meets in Edinburgh 

The financial impact of caring will be the theme of this year's Carers' Parliament, which met in Edinburgh .

Delegates from around Scotland will discuss a range of issues, including the key-note debate which will ask what can be done to prevent carers from facing financial hardships.

This is the third Carers' Parliament to be held in Scotland. The annual event is organised by the Scottish Government and Carers Scotland to give carers an opportunity to have their say and to influence government policy.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, will address the parliament and outline the progress made since last year's event. Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health, will take part in a question and answer session with delegates.

Mr Neil will give an update on the progress of the new Carers' Bill, announced by First Minister Alex Salmond at last year's Carers' Parliament. It will extend and strengthen the rights of both adult carers and young carers to ensure that they are much better supported. The consultation on potential legislative provisions took place earlier this year and a response from the Scottish Government will be published this autumn.

There has also been extra funding for short breaks, taking the total amount invested in the Short Breaks Fund by the Scottish Government to £14 million since 2010. So far more than 25,000 carers and young carers have benefited.

A Carer Positive Kitemark has been launched to recognise those employers who have a working environment that values and supports carers. Also, more effort will be taken to involve carers in hospital discharges.

Around 150 carers were at the event from as far a-field as the Shetlands. European delegates are also due to attend from Germany, Denmark, Finland and Austria. 

Mr Matheson said: "The Carers’ Parliament was set up by the Scottish Government so carers can tell us what problems they’re facing and what we can do to help. We have listened to what carers have told us, and that’s why we are delivering on a new Carers' Bill, extra funding for short breaks and steps to support working carers. 

“We know that many carers face financial hardship, particularly as a result of Westminster welfare reforms. Many carers want to see an increase in the carers’ allowance, currently reserved to Westminster, and we agree with them on this. The Scottish Government wants to see full fiscal and welfare powers resting with the Scottish Parliament, which would allow us to take action.

“We are doing what we can with the limited powers of the Scottish parliament, and events like the Carers’ Parliament are vital to tell us if we are putting resources into the right places

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