Unpaid carers allowance should be doubled, MSPs recommend

PLANS to temporarily double the carer’s allowance supplement given to unpaid carers have been backed by Holyrood’s Social Security Committee.

The committee’s MSPs unanimously backed the proposal to increase the allowance from £231.40 to £462.80 paid to eligible carers in December.

MSPs reported near-universal support for the proposal which aims to ease the economic burden the coronavirus has placed on the estimated 83,000 carers who receive the twice-yearly payment.

During its consideration of the proposal, the committee heard evidence of the damaging impact the burden of caring responsibilities places on unpaid carers, with many reporting the pandemic had made things more challenging, limiting their access to respite and support services.

One carer told the committee that carers had “got the raw end of the pandemic”.

A report is to be presented to MSPs ahead of a parliament-wide debate on the plans.

The committee’s recommendations included the need for the Scottish Government to consider further increases beyond this one-off measure and explore how to broaden support for unpaid carers.

Neil Gray, convener of the committee, said: “Evidence we have heard in scrutinising this Bill has demonstrated that unpaid carers, feel isolated and exhausted.

“Many carers said that the pandemic has only exacerbated the issues they face.

“This Bill will go some way towards supporting them and I am pleased carers are getting this recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

“There is unanimous support in our committee for this Bill.

“The Scottish Carers Allowance supplement provides additional support in Scotland, but we heard there is a need to keep increasing our investment in carers.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992