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Carers Scotland welcomes new regulations to waive charges for support to carers

29 November 2012

Carers Scotland and the other National Carer Organisations today welcomed the announcement of regulations which will waive charges for support to carers during the debate on the Social Care (Self Directed) Support Scotland Bill (which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 28 November 2012).

Michael Matheson MSP said:

"I plan to use the powers provided as a result of section 16 of the Bill to issue regulations that will make clear that all charges for support to carers should be waived in whole,"

"So, to be abundantly clear, carers will not be charged for the support they receive under Section 2 of the Bill."

We further welcome provisions to issue directions to local authorities about the ways in which they should approach the substantial and regular test on access to carers’ assessments to promote greater consistency on the approach that is taken across the country on the provision of carers’ assessments.

Some carers do not meet the threshold for a carer’s assessment and should be supported in a preventative basis to maintain their health and wellbeing. The Minister also announced that the Government will issue statutory guidance to local authorities about the benefits of intervening early to support carers and to encourage local authorities to provide this support.

The Government also agreed that it will examine the issue of a greater role for carers in the assessment of the cared-for person and in ensuring that local authorities collaborate with the carer through the work to develop a carers rights charter. Depending on the results of this work, the Government will then decide whether further action is needed.

There was some disappointment as the power to support carers in the Bill will not be replaced with a duty. It was agreed in the Parliament that this is a complex issue, with the risk that a duty may lead to formal eligibility criteria and in some cases carer support being targeted only at those in critical levels of need. The national carer organisations recognise this but will continue to press the case that providing support for carers as a matter of course prevents crisis, supports carers own health and, in the long run, saves the state significant amounts of money.

The national carer organisations will work with carers, the Scottish Government and others to ensure that all of these provisions best meet the needs of carers in Scotland.

Carers have been vital in achieving these improvements... their lobbying and campaigning throughout the passage of the Bill, including sharing their experiences with MSPs, has been instrumental in securing these important measures which we hope will improve their lives.  They should be rightly proud.

To read the Scottish Parliament official report of the debate, click here.  To find out more about the Social Care (Self Directed Support) Bill click here.

A briefing on the Bill as passed and what it will mean for carers is available to download below.




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