A new Carers Bill will enshrine carers’ rights in law for the first time in Scotland, it has been announced.
The Bill will entitle every adult carer in Scotland to their own support plan, with young carers receiving a similar young carer statement. These measures will set out the needs of each carer, and the help and support they are entitled to.
This means they will have a right to receive certain support from their local authority if their needs meet local eligibility criteria. The local authority will also consider whether the support should take the form of, or include, a short break.
Local eligibility criteria will be set with reference to a set of national core principles. This will ensure that consideration is given to important factors, such as making sure that carers get the right support at an early stage.
Local councils will also publish local carer strategies that will focus on identifying carers’ needs, assessing the needs which exist locally, and the availability of services.
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, visited South East Carers Centre in Glasgow on Tuesday to launch the Carers Bill. He met young and adult carers to hear about their situation and to talk about how the Bill could help support them.
Other measures included in the Bill include the establishment of local carer advice and information centres in every local authority area.
MSP Jamie Hepburn said: “Society owes those who provide a caring role a massive debt of gratitude.
“We will probably never be able to do enough to truly reflect the contribution they make, but I believe that the Carers Bill is an important step towards recognising the huge contribution that carers make to their family, friends, communities, and the wider economy.
“I hope that the measures in this Bill will go some way towards allowing carers to balance their caring responsibilities with other things they want to achieve in their lives, helping them to be happier and healthier.
“We’ve made great progress in recent years. The Scottish Government has invested £13.7 million for short-breaks for carers and their loved ones, and we’ve put £28.9 million into health boards to provide for direct support for carers.
“The Carers Bill will allow us to accelerate the progress that has been made, and to ensure that the standard of support is provided consistently across the country.”