Scottish Government ‘abandoning’ unpaid carers, says Scottish Labour

Party claims increase in the six-monthly allowances paid to unwaged carers will not be permanent.

Scottish Government ‘abandoning’ unpaid carers, says Scottish Labour iStock

The increase in the six-monthly allowances paid to unwaged carers will not be permanent, Labour has claimed.

From December the six-monthly allowances doubled, from £231.40 to £462.80.

MSPs unanimously backed the Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill in Holyrood, on October 7 last year, which brought in the increase.

Scottish Labour’s social justice and social security spokeswoman, Pam Duncan-Glancy, said that provision was not made in the 2022/23 budget for the funding needed to maintain the higher rate, meaning the payment will be halved from next year onwards.

Duncan-Glancy said: “The SNP rightly slammed the Tories’ cruel decision to scrap the universal credit uplift – but now they are doing the same for Scotland’s unpaid carers.

“Throughout the pandemic unpaid carers have stepped up and stepped in, in the absence of a social care system that properly meets people’s needs.

“The pandemic is far from over, and unpaid carers are still being left to plug the gaps.

“We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe them, but the least we can do is protect them from harsh cuts in this year’s budget.

“The Government cannot abandon unpaid carers while a cost of living crisis rages on and our social care sector is at breaking point.

“The Scottish Government must recognise the value of unpaid carers and stick by its promises to support them.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The carer’s allowance supplement is an uplift on top of the carer’s allowance, for eligible Scottish carers, and was the first of the now eleven benefits we deliver through our social security system.

“It sees the financial support we provide to carers increase by around 13% compared to carers in the rest of the UK.

“We provide two payments of £231.40 a year to around 90,000 carers a year.

“Last year we made a double payment to provide additional support to carers who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Since its launch in 2018, we have invested around £187 million in these payments.

“This is money we choose to invest in carers from our own fixed budget and this support will continue.

“This uplift isn’t going anywhere.”