Government risks excluding some Scottish carers from critical support, says Law Society
Government plans to reform the structure of support for Scotland's carers risk excluding certain individuals with critical caring responsibilities, the Law Society of Scotland warned today.
The Society was responding to a Scottish Government consultation on carers legislation ahead of an expected draft Bill. The consultation, which closes tomorrow, April 16, proposes to afford more protection and improve outcomes for carers and young carers in Scotland.
The Society has welcomed the focus on supporting the estimated 750,000 Scots who are unpaid carers. However, the organisation has expressed concern over proposals to introduce an 'eligibility framework' and the potential for those who fall outwith of that framework to be overlooked and not provided with the support they need.
May Dunsmuir, Vice Convener of the Society's Mental Health and Disability Committee, said:
"Carers across Scotland play a crucial role in looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our society. That work may be unpaid but it can never be overlooked. That is why the Scottish Government is to be commended for recognising the unique challenges which come with caring responsibilities and the need to better protect carers' rights.
"We would strongly support legislation which would help to clarify and set out the support that is available for carers, along with things such as easy to read guides setting out clearly carers' and young carers' rights under any new legislation, and providing signposting to local support services.
"However, we believe that introducing an eligibility framework for carers is the wrong way to go. We know there are more carers in Scotland than ever before, including up to 100,000 young carers. It is often a difficult and emotional job, foSociety's websiter which of course there is no pay. The planned eligibility framework may result in those falling outside of it being overlooked and not given the support needed. There should be a duty to provide support to all carers and young carers where a need has been identified or support requested."
Notes to editors
The consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website.
The Society's full response can be found on the Society's website.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Louise Docherty on 0131 476 8204 or Suzy Powell on 0131 476 8115
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15 April 201