27 April 2017
Highland and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has renewed calls for the SNP to bring forward plans to top-up Carer’s Allowance, as new analysis reveals a 40 per cent increase in the number of people receiving the benefit in Orkney Islands Council’s area.
Figures show that from May 2010 to August 2016 the number of people being paid Carer’s Allowance increased from 131 to 184 in the area.
In last year’s Holyrood election, all parties in the Scottish Parliament supported increasing Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance - a move which would net carers an extra £600 a year.
The SNP government has had the power to deliver this top up since last September, and in March new powers to overhaul carers and disability benefits were devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Carers Scotland reports that a third of carers are struggling to pay utility bills, 47 per cent have been in debt and half are struggling to make ends meet, cutting back on food and heating as a result.
Since November 2016, eligibility for Carer’s Allowance has exempted households from the hated benefit cap.
Rhoda said :
“The SNP government needs to get a move on and deliver on its promise to top-up Carer’s Allowance. I welcome the fact that more people are receiving the Carer’s allowance to which they are entitled. But the Tory Welfare reforms have resulted in more and more people being financially dependent on these payments. People who selflessly care for others and save the Government, especially the NHS and social care system, billions of pounds should be treated with more compassion by the SNP.
The new powers over social security give us a chance to build a truly fairer Scotland – but the Scottish Government needs to use them now and not delay any longer”