Scottish Government
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New legislation planned for Scotland’s carers

FM announces a new plan to further the rights of carers and young carers.

Plans to bring about specific legislation that will promote, defend and extend the rights of carers and young carers were announced yesterday by First Minister Alex Salmond.

A widespread consultation on this new legislation for carers and young carers will start before the end of this year. This marks a significant step forward in recognising and addressing the needs of the 657,000 unpaid adult carers and up to 100,000 young carers who care for their families, friends and neighbours.

Mr Salmond announced the legislation plans at the 2nd annual Carers’ Parliament in Edinburgh. Speaking at the event the First Minister, said:

“This Government recognises the vital role that carers play in looking after the most vulnerable in society. We know that being an unpaid carer can be a difficult and isolating experience and we want to do all that we can to make sure we are doing everything within our powers to help carers in Scotland.

“Progress is being made including the setting up of this Carers’ Parliament - giving carers a voice and an important platform to raise and discuss issues of concern.

“However, more must be done to ensure carers are supported properly and are fully involved in decisions affecting their lives and those they care for. Therefore I am delighted to announce that the Scottish Government will consult on legislation to support carers and young carers. The consultation period will start before the end of the year and I would encourage all those who are interested or affected to feed into the consultation process.”

Simon Hodgson, Director of Carers Scotland, said:

“Most people will be carers at some point in their lives and today’s announcement marks another important milestone in recognising the crucial role carers play in homes across the country. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure carers are able to help shape the details in the months ahead.”

Shared Care Scotland, Chief Executive, Don Williamson, said:

“Over recent years the Scottish Government has worked together with a range of interests to promote the vital contribution made by carers in Scotland, and to increase the levels of support available to help carers with their caring role. This is making a real difference in many areas but we all appreciate that more must be done to ensure carers can rely on consistent availability of support across the country. We therefore warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment today to build on the progress that has been made, and to consult on further ways carers can be supported, and their own health protected, through new duties and legislation.”

Notes to editors

There are more than 657,000 unpaid adult carers and up to 100,000 young carers in Scotland and many who care who don’t even identify themselves as carers.

The Government plans to consult on the legislation which will help to improve the health and wellbeing of carers; allow them to continue in their caring role; have a life alongside caring; remain in work; access community support networks and help establish consistency across the whole of Scotland.

Further information on the Scottish Government’s work on carers can be found here

Support for young carers in the new legislation will take account of the provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The Carers’ Parliament report from 2012 can be found here:

Further information on the Statement of Intent will be made available on the Scottish Government’s Publications website.

Caring brings considerable challenges for the 657,000 unpaid adult carers and up to 100,000 young carers in Scotland caring for their family, friends and neighbours. It is estimated that carers, as providers of services, save the health and social care system in Scotland over £10 billion each year.

Episode 13 | The Digital Divide