The Scottish Government will consider whether to introduce a Young Carer’s Allowance in order to provide extra financial support for young people. Topically, the Government made this announcement during Carers Week.
The current UK guidelines means only 250 people in Scotland under the age of 18 receive Carer’s Allowance. This is despite the fact there are 44,000 young carers across Scotland, meaning a miniscule 0.5% of young carers are eligible for financial support.
Carer Advisory groups will now be consulted on their views of a Young Carer’s Allowance, and whether it could help people who have previously lost out under the current rules.
Part of the consultation will also look at what non-financial support is currently available and identify any gaps.
An analysis of 417 letters from carers sharing their experiences, gathered by Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw was carried out by Professors Jane Joy, University Teacher, Nursing and Health Care and her colleague Diane Willis, University Lecturer, Nursing and Health Care, at the University of Glasgow. Their analysis found that not only did carers have to deal with emotional and physical strain, but that their caring role could also cause severe financial strain. It is, therefore, imperative that we drive improvements to support carers in performing their invaluable role.
“Across Scotland there are 44,000 young carers who currently balance their education with their caring responsibilities. We want all young people to have the same chances and opportunities to fulfil their potential.
“That is why over the coming months we will be working with carers to find out if there is merit in a Young Carer’s Allowance, and will be looking for their help and views on shaping the Carer’s Allowance.
“It is only by meeting and hearing from carers first hand that we can really get an appreciation of the specific challenges they face and how their lives could be improved.”