I recognise the immense contribution young carers make to our society, providing unpaid care for friends, family and neighbours. I know from meeting young carers across Scotland that it can be difficult for them to do the things and access the opportunities that are the norm for their non-caring peers. Caring should not be a barrier to the learning, work and leisure that all of us should be able to access.
On 25 May 2016, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would consider the introduction of a Young Carer's Allowance to provide extra support for young people with significant caring responsibilities. On 20 September 2017 she confirmed a new package of support for young carers, with the Young Carer Grant as its centrepiece.
This package of support included our commitment to free bus travel from 2020/2021 for Young Carer Grant recipients, subject to successful piloting. The First Minister also announced a bespoke carer element to the Young Scot National Entitlement card, providing non-cash benefits for young carers aged 11-18, to be rolled out from April 2019. This builds on new support for young carers introduced through the Carers (Scotland) Act which took effect on 1 April this year, including the right to a young carer statement and a duty on local authorities to establish an information and advice service for carers.
I am delighted to now introduce the formal consultation on the Young Carer Grant. The aim of the grant is to provide additional financial support for young people with significant caring responsibilities.
The Young Carer Grant is a new grant, reflecting our commitment to increasing financial support for carers. It comes alongside the 13% increase to Carer's Allowance we recently delivered to Scottish carers through our new social security powers, and our commitment to make an additional payment to carers of more than one disabled child by the end of this parliamentary term.
I am confident of the positive effects the Young Carer Grant will have on young carers. We have built these regulations through engagement with frontline carer support organisations, and with input from young carers through the Young Carer Panel, as well as utilising evidence and research about young carers' experiences.
We are now looking for your views through this consultation to inform our final policy for Young Carer Grant. I encourage you to respond to the consultation, and thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your views.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People