Ahead of Carers Week 2015, which begins on Monday, the SNP is calling on the UK Government to come clean on the number of carers in Scotland that will lose out as a result of welfare cuts.
The roll out of Personal Independence Payments will impact carers currently receiving Carers Allowance and Disability Living Allowance – with some expected not to be eligible for any support at all under the new system.
There are an estimated 759,000 carers in Scotland – and around 29,000 of these are young carers aged under 16.
The Scottish Government is working to provide more support for carers – and the Carers Bill currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament will enshrine carers’ rights in law for the first time. It will also build on the £114 million funding the SNP Government has invested in programmes to support carers, and every carer will be entitled to their own support plan.
But harsh Tory welfare cuts threaten to undermine the good progress being made in Scotland.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who is a member of the Welfare Reform Committee in the Scottish Parliament, and Eilidh Whiteford, SNP Westminster spokesperson for Work and Pensions, have lodged questions at Holyrood and Westminster seeking more information on the impact of these cuts.
Christina McKelvie MSP said:
“Carers play such a vital role in looking after loved ones – and we owe them a massive debt of gratitude. The Scottish Government has made good progress toward ensuring more carers get the support they need – with the Carers Bill currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament building on progress by enshrining carers’ rights in law for the first time.
“But the Tory obsession with cuts is putting this progress at risk. It is time for the Tories to come clean on the number of carers in Scotland that will lose out as a result of the roll out of Personal Independence Payments.”
Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“The Tories have shown us time and time again that they simply cannot be trusted on welfare. Their heartless cuts are hitting women and disabled people hardest – and the roll out of Personal Independence Payments is now threatening to impact support for Scotland’s estimated 759,000 carers.
“I have tabled questions to the Department for Work and Pensions in an effort to push the Tories to stop dodging this matter and tell us how many carers stand to lose out.
“Scotland’s carers can’t afford these cuts – we need full powers over social security in Scotland to allow us to protect, support and empower people who need help, rather than pushing them into poverty with punitive cuts and sanctions as the Tories are continuing to do.”