MSP says Bill is a ‘new opportunity’ for carers

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Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, has highlighted the Carers Bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, as a “new opportunity” for Island Carers.

The bill will strengthen the support available to carers and will ensure their rights are fully enshrined in law for the first time.

MSPs last week voted in favour of the general principles of the Carers Bill during the Stage 1 debate in Parliament.

The Carers Bill will give every adult carer the right to a support plan. Young carers will receive a similar Young Carer Statement.

The Government has also announced its intention to amend the Bill at Stage 2 to ensure that support plans include information about emergency planning.

The Bill will give Ministers the power to set regulations about important national matters regarding support to carers.

The whole intent of the Bill is to ensure a more consistent approach to supporting carers.

Local councils will also be required to publish local carer strategies, and each local authority area will have to provide an advice and information service for carers.

Speaking after meeting with the Western Isles Carers, Users & Supporters Network (WICUSN) Alasdair Allan said: “More than most places in Scotland, the Western Isles has a significant number of people who are caring for a relative at home.

“It is clear to me from meeting groups like WICUSN that the needs of carers should continue to be at the forefront of our minds when the Government makes policy.

“I therefore hope that the Carers Bill now going through Parliament provides the chance to do this. The Bill will give every adult carer the right to a support plan, making clear what their own needs are and what help they are entitled to.

“This is a new opportunity to ensure more consistency around the services available to carers and to address ongoing issues which carers raise, such as what happens if they are unexpectedly not available to carrying out their caring work.

“The Scottish Government is presently seeking to strengthen the Bill further and I’m very happy to ensure that the opinions of any carer with strong views on this subject are brought to the attention of ministers at this important point.”