Tens of thousands of unpaid carers will receive a double payment of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement this winter under legislation passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

Recognising the additional pressures unpaid carers face as a result of the pandemic, the December payment of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement will be doubled to £462.80, benefitting more than 91,000 people.

This extra investment, forecast to be £21 million, will be the second time the Scottish Government has doubled a Carer’s Allowance Supplement payment.

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill will also give Ministers powers to provide eligible carers with additional financial support in future if the need arises.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “We introduced the Carer’s Allowance Supplement in September 2018 to address the fact that Carer’s Allowance was the lowest of all working age benefits. The £230 payment is in addition to the Carers Allowance in recognition of the role carers play in society.

“In recognition of the additional pressures caused by the pandemic, tens of thousands of unpaid carers will now receive another additional payment of more than £230 through our Carer’s Allowance Supplement this winter. This additional payment means that this year carers in Scotland will get £694.20 more in support than carers in the rest of the UK.

“We also made a double payment last year, so over the past two years we have invested over £120 million from our own budget to support around 91,000 unpaid carers. The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is unique in the UK and is one of seven new benefits we have introduced.

“The Scottish Government will always consider if additional payments are needed in the future, bearing in mind the broad range of support we provide across society and taking account of our limited tax and borrowing powers.

Sebastian Fischer, Chief Executive of VOCAL, which supports and empowers unpaid carers in Edinburgh said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, the Coronavirus Carers’ Allowance Supplement is a welcome measure and we are delighted that the Bill has passed. This will support carers who have faced, and continue to face, enormous challenges due to Covid-19.

“Unpaid carers have propped up the health and social care sector, and it is vital that they are recognised in ways that deliver real positive impact. We look forward to seeing further measures from our new government which value the role of carers as equal partners.”