Carers from across Scotland will today give their views to MSPs of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee on new legislation that aims to improve the support available to them and set out their rights in law.
The Committee is currently scrutinising the Carers (Scotland) Bill which is at stage one of the parliamentary scrutiny process. The Bill, if approved by Parliament, would give local authorities a duty to prepare ‘adult carer support plans’ and young carers would be entitled to a ‘young carer’s statement.’
The Committee will gather in Glasgow to hear from over 20 carers that have come from all over Scotland – from Shetland, the Highlands to Edinburgh and Glasgow - and have experience of a range of caring roles. The Committee will be looking to understand what practical impact this legislation will have on their lives and their experiences of what it’s like to be a carer.
Convener of the Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“The Committee is delighted to hear directly from carers from right across Scotland about how this proposed legislation will impact on their lives.
“More and more adults and young people are taking on responsibility for caring for a friend or relative so it’s vital that the Committee has an understanding of what it is like to be a carer and the support services that are currently in place.
“We’ve already heard some concerns that the proposal to set eligibility criteria for support locally rather than nationally could lead to a postcode lottery so it’s vital that this Committee speaks directly to the people it will affect the most.”
Deputy Convener of the Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“This Bill, if passed, will for the first time, place the rights of carers in law and it will place an onus on local authorities to place carers’ rights at the heart of the support services that they provide.
“Carers’ provide an invaluable role in society and it’s vital that they are properly supported. Our Committee will use this session to get a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a carer and how we as parliamentarians can ensure this legislation delivers for carers’ across Scotland.”
Scotland had an estimated 745,000 carers and 44,000 young carers. The Committee is currently taking oral evidence on the bill.