Linda Fabiani has welcomed SNP commitments for Scotland’s thousands of unpaid carers, which will build on progress made over the last four years.

During its first term in Government, the SNP demonstrated its commitment to Scotland’s carers by increasing respite provision to 10,000 weeks across the country and agreeing with local authorities to increase support for kinship carers.

As part of the SNP’s plans to make Scotland fairer over the next five years Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Depute Leader and Scotland’s Health Minister for the last four years, set out the commitments the SNP will make to Scotland’s carers in the party’s upcoming manifesto.

• Ensure young carers needs are better recognised by their schools – for example ensuring flexibility around Education Maintenance Allowances for those whose caring responsibilities make it difficult to always fulfil attendance criteria

• Extend the Energy Assistance Package to carers in recognition of their increased costs

• Continue funding for 10,000 weeks of respite provision for the next 5 years

• An additional £2 million for short breaks for families with severely disabled children – meaning £6 million in total on short breaks

• Establish the Caring for Carers Employers Kitemark – for employers who offer support and flexibility to those helping us to meet Scotland’s caring needs.

• Give unpaid carers a more direct voice in policy and decision making with an annual “Carers’ Parliament” as one means of ensuring Carer’s have direct access to MSPs and Scottish Government ministers

• Continue our support for kinship carers and efforts to secure proper recognition for kinship carers within the benefits and support system.

Linda Fabiani said:

“I know the tremendous job that carers, of all ages, do, whether for members of their family or for others in the community.

“Over the past 12 years, I have been privileged to work with a number of carers’ groups, including those working with the elderly and with people with learning and physical disabilities.

“It is clear that carers’ voices have not been heard in the past, and I am sure the annual “Carers’ Parliament” will attract many carers wanting to get their needs across to MSPs and government.

“But, more important than that is the commitment to continue to deliver increased respite care, support for carers still in education, and energy assistance that could make all the dfifference to a carers quality of life.

“We know that the Scottish Parliament can’t tackle this issue on its own. Kinship carers in particular are hugely disadvantaged by the benefit system and to tackle that the Scottish Parliament needs more powers.”

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