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Carers Scotland comment on Scottish Finance Secretary’s pledge that "every penny will go out the door to support households and families in need"

by Fiona Collie 07 February 2022

Last week, the Chancellor set out the UK Government’s response to the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills, following the announcement by Ofgem of a 54% increase to the energy price cap, which will on average see bills rise by £693 a year from April 2022.  

As part of support outlined for England, the Treasury have confirmed the announcement will generate around £290m of consequential funding for Scotland. 

Whilst, the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary said the exact figure was still to be confirmed, she stated that every penny will go out the door to support households and families in need”.

Carers Scotland welcomes this commitment but warns of an impending crisis facing already overstretched unpaid carers without further targeted support for carers by the Scottish Government.

Richard Meade, Director of Carers Scotland said:

“Unpaid carers were disappointed by what they heard from the Chancellor last week as it does not go far enough to provide the targeted support that carers need.

“Despite the measures announced by the UK Government[1], many unpaid carers will be unable to meet these additional costs and face extremely difficult decisions in the coming weeks and months.

“One in three carers in Scotland are struggling to make ends meet with more than 4 in 10 saying that their financial situation has deteriorated since the pandemic

“A quarter of carers are already unable to manage their monthly expenses. At the end of last year, many told us they were dipping into savings, borrowing, using credit cards, and cutting back on essentials to keep the person they care for warm and healthy. Many told just how precarious their finances were; even before this they were only just surviving financially; with their households facing many additional costs such as extra heating, incontinence products, extra laundry and care charges on already stretched incomes. 

With energy bills set to soar by 54% this April, and even higher later this year, more will be pushed into financial difficulty. Carers are fearful of the consequences of these increasing costs on they and their families without targeted help.

“During the pandemic, the Scottish Government has recognised the fact that carers have faced significant financial and practical challenges by providing additional support to carers, through extra payments of Carer’s Allowance Supplement and winter support funding.  This is welcome.

“However, to ensure carers can keep themselves and the people they care for warm, we are calling on the Scottish Government to provide extra targeted support for unpaid carers.  Without this, many unpaid carers will be pushed further into poverty that will have a lasting impact on their finances, health and wellbeing.”

At a UK level, Carers UK are also calling on the UK Government to take urgent action to ensure carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance across the UK are included in the extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme that was announced today and provide additional support for carers with energy bills. We also need further measures to address the rate of Carer’s Allowance, where carers will see their incomes falling behind inflation. Carer’s Allowance is set to rise by only 3.1% in April 2022, while inflation (CPI) is expected to reach 7.25%.

Ends

 

Media contacts

Please contact Carers Scotland:

  • Fiona Collie, Policy Manager, 07967 826238 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Richard Meade, Director, 0141 445 3070 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[1]The UK Government announced a £9bn package of support to address the rising costs families are facing. This includes the introduction of a new Energy Bills Rebate, through which all households will get a £200 discount on their bills, paid from October 2022, which will have to be repaid over 5 years. The Government also announced that people in Council Tax bands A-D will (roughly 80% of all households in England) will receive a £150 council tax rebate – this will not have to be repaid – and that there will be a discretionary fund worth £150m to help people in homes in higher council tax bands who need help. The Chancellor also confirmed that it will be extending the Warm Home Discount so that more people are eligible for this support.  

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