Social justice committee wants to hear from unpaid carers about impact of carer’s allowance
The Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee wants to hear from unpaid carers and carers organisations about the impact of COVID and whether an increase to carer’s allowance could help.
The committee is considering plans for an additional payment for some unpaid carers set out in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill.
If passed, the bill would double the Carer’s Allowance Supplement (CAS) to be paid in December.
It would also give the Scottish Government the power to increase the allowance in the future.
According to the Scottish Government, such a change would help to ease some of the economic harm from COVID that has affected the estimated 83,000 carers who currently receive the allowance.
CAS is targeted at those who have both an intensive caring role and poorer financial circumstances.
Although there are estimated to be approximately 690,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, only around 83,000 carers are eligible for the allowance.
Paid twice a year, the current payment is £231.40, but the bill would double the December 2021 payment.
As it considers the bill, the social justice committee wants to hear from carers support groups and others about whether the change is likely to have the hoped-for impact.
Committee convener Neil Gray said: “The devastation caused by COVID has been felt throughout our towns and communities.
“It has been hard for people in so many ways, and it is important that those most affected are recognised and offered the support they need.
“This bill wants to address some of the extra burden unpaid carers have taken on by increasing the level of the Carer’s Support Allowance.
“But what impact would this have of those facing unimaginable hardship as a result of COVID?
“We want to hear from those working closely with carers about what this will mean in practice and whether the additional payment is the most appropriate way to support unpaid carers.
“We also want to learn whether people think the Scottish Government should have more flexibility to change this payment in the future.”