New Scottish Government Bill to 
ensure the rights of carers

Angus south MSP Graeme Dey.
Angus south MSP Graeme Dey.

A new bill which has for the first time enshrined in law the rights of carers has been endorsed by local MSP Graeme Dey

The Scottish Government’s Carers 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.

Eligibility criteria will be arranged 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 focusing on identifying carers’ needs, assessing the needs which exist locally, and the availability of services. Other measures in the Bill include the establishment of local carer advice and information centres in every local authority area.

The Scottish Government has invested nearly £114 million in programmes to support carers. This includes £13.7 million to fund short breaks, and £28.9 million for health boards to provide direct support to carers.

Mr Dey said: “Carers play an incredibly important role in our society and the publication of this bill is an important marker of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting them. As the Minister for Health Improvement has acknowledged, it is vital that carers are able to balance their caring responsibilities with other activities in their lives that they wish to pursue and I hope that this bill will help to achieve this.

“It is however important to acknowledge that in many respects we are ahead of the game in Angus.

“The council already has a strategy in place which aims to ensure that carers receive the right support at the right time and we have a well functioning carers’ centre.”