Colin Beattie’s View – Proposal to establish a new National Care Service

Thursday April 29th 2021


Midlothian View Holyrood Challenge: This View has been written by Colin Beattie, the Scottish National Party's candidate in the Midlothian North & Musselburgh constituency for the Scottish Elections on Thursday May 6th 2021

In Scotland we pride ourselves in being a caring society and the SNP manifesto certainly supports this.

The proposal to establish a new National Care Service is extremely welcome. Implementing the Feeley Review will significantly improve the conditions of service for our hard working and dedicated care staff across the whole country, including the introduction of national pay bargaining for all social care staff. As part of this initiative all non-resident social care charges will be abolished. The SNP will create a service which is on a par with our NHS. I am really pleased that we may finally see an end to the shockingly low wages and inconsistent terms and conditions such highly valued workers are currently subjected to.

On May 6th we will be asking the people of Scotland to give us a mandate to implement this groundbreaking change to how care is delivered.

Additionally, caring in the community will receive a significant boost as part of a 25% increase in primary care funding.

If an SNP Government is elected, then the existing Carers Allowance will be abolished and be replaced with an improved Carers Assistance Payment. Until it is introduced, the SNP Scottish Government will pay a Carers Allowance Supplement to ensure that carers receive payments to the equivalent of Job Seekers Allowance. Anyone caring for more than one disabled person will receive an extra £10 per week. This additional £520 per year will benefit around 16,350 carers – provided it is not clawed back by the UK Government. For those who lose a loved one they care for, the SNP Scottish Government will pay Carers Assistance for twelve weeks instead of eight weeks, helping more than 4,000 carers.

In recognition of the extra burden the pandemic has placed on carers, the SNP Scottish Government made an extra Carers Allowance Supplement payment of £230.10 in June 2020 to provide extra support for carers. If re-elected, we will do so again in December 2021. This double payment will be worth £460 to around 77,000 carers.

I believe that how we take care of the vulnerable in our society says much about us as a society. The National Care Service will be the biggest shake up of care provision that Scotland has seen in very many years.

While the positive moves proposed in the SNP manifesto are very welcome, I still worry that we do not yet have a means to identify and support “hidden” carers. There are many young people attending school that also care for a parent or elderly relative. Sometimes there is a family member who takes on care of a vulnerable relative – potentially at the cost of their job and independence. This is not always a question of money – although I am sure that is always welcome. It is also about recognition of the commitment and the reassurance that they are not alone. For example, the provision of respite – even if it is only for a couple of weeks in a year – is essential. It’s about respect for the sacrifices they have chosen to make.

We are moving in the right direction with these policies, but there is always more to do.

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