Thank you for getting in touch to highlight the unprecedented challenges that unpaid carers are facing during this cost of living crisis. Please be assured that this is an issue that my party and I have been spending time highlighting and trying to get the Scottish Government to address.
Years of damaging neglect and pandemic mismanagement have left our social care services broken with hugely detrimental impacts for care workers, unpaid carers and, of course, those in receipt of care and support. The SNP have presided over cuts in care packages, the withdrawal of respite, and a failure to implement key recommendations of the Adult Social Care: Independent Review, including the scrapping of non-residential care charges. It is simply unacceptable that unpaid carers have been undervalued and ignored by SNP Ministers for so long.
The SNP-Green Government’s budget for 2023/24 did not tackle the cost of living, failed to support our NHS and social care workforces, and left many local services underfunded. Our calls for better local government funding and for social care to be prioritised went unheeded and so we could not support the Government’s plans.
Scottish Labour are committed to supporting unpaid carers though and that is why at our recent party conference, we launched our ‘Caring for our Carers’ plan outlining our commitments for unpaid carers. It is a comprehensive package of measures which, if implemented, would substantially improve the lives of unpaid carers in Scotland. In particular we have called for:
- Access to a minimum two weeks of free respite care
- A freeze on energy bills through a windfall tax on big energy companies
- Action on exorbitant energy bills faced by unpaid carers
- Additional support for young carers to be prioritised
- More ‘Rights and Advice Centres’ to support Carers
- Improved access to mental health services
- Carers granted representation as full partners on Integration Joint Boards
- Establishment of a National Unpaid Carers Taskforce
The Scottish Government could take these actions right now, but they are too busy with political infighting. Please be assured that Scottish Labour will continue to stand up for unpaid carers and lobby Ministers until you receive the recognition and, more importantly, the support you need and deserve.