Unpaid carers make a huge contribution to their communities as well as providing vital support to those they care for. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Carers UK estimated the value of unpaid care in Scotland to be £10.8 billion each year.
Caring can be a rewarding and positive experience for both carers and the cared-for person. However, it is also associated with poor mental wellbeing and physical health. Carers are at a higher risk of poverty, and their caring role can restrict opportunities to participate fully in society, including employment and education. This can be particularly challenging for those with more intensive caring roles.
The Scottish Government's vision for unpaid carers, as set out in the draft Carers Strategic Policy Statement, is that all unpaid carers are supported on a consistent basis to allow them to continue caring, if that is their wish, in good health and wellbeing, allowing for a life of their own outside of caring. Scottish Carer's Assistance, our replacement for Carer's Allowance, will be a vital element in delivering this vision.