The Lib Dems will promise more money and support for the country’s unpaid carers in their manifesto.
Plans to be announced on Friday lunchtime include calls for an extension to the Carers Allowance of £1,000 across the UK, as well as guaranteeing respite support and help into employment.
In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire 5,739 carers are eligible for payment, yet 1,949 do not receive any.
In Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and Moray 2,563 carers out of a registered 7,038 receive none of the money they are entitled to.
Across Scotland there are 122,857 carers eligible for payment support. Around 41,920 have not received what they are entitled to — more than 34%.
What is a carer?
A carer is anyone who looks after a friend, family member or neighbour due to old age, physical or mental illness, disability or addiction.
There are an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 people taking on unpaid carer roles in Scotland, according to the NHS.
Almost 30,000 of those considered unpaid carers are under the age of 18.
Tasks carers do range from regularly shopping for someone to providing full assistance in daily tasks like feeding, nurturing and protecting some of society’s most vulnerable people.
The Lib Dems will propose a number of measures in their manifesto, including the following:
- An enhanced Carers Allowance
- Offer carers guaranteed respite support
- Give carers the right to flexible working hours
- Benefits packages including free local authority leisure centre access and self-referral to socially prescribed activities and courses
- Update the 2016 Carers Act in order to improve it in the light of lessons from the pandemic
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “People who care for others – whether paid or unpaid, young or old – do a remarkable job and deserve our support.
“Too often I hear stories of carers relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for.
“Just imagine how much harder it has been with the brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding and pared-back support services.
“It doesn’t have to stay this way. With a Scottish Government ready to focus all its energy on putting recovery first, there is a real opportunity for change.
“With transformative plans to guarantee respite and increase financial support, Scottish Liberal Democrats will lead the way to a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic.
“We should be approaching caring with a fresh sense of urgency.”