Motion on vital role of carers agreed
Visit our Carers Rights Day 2022 webpage here for resources and details of the support available: bit.ly/CarersRightsDay2022
Members of The Highland Council, who met last week (27 October 2022), recognised the integral role of carers, both paid and unpaid, within local Highland communities.
This agreement was reached as the Council prepares to give its backing and support to two key events scheduled to take place in November: Scottish Careers Week (7th-11th November) and Carers Rights Day (24th November).
Carers Rights Day is a national campaign, co-ordinated by the charity Carers UK, which takes place annually to raise awareness of the rights of unpaid carers nationwide. At its heart is the aim to maximise the income of carers through an increase in the take-up of appropriate benefits and to recognise the needs of carers.
This year’s campaign will focus on the theme of “Caring Costs”. It seeks to raise wider recognition of financial and intangible costs to those who have a role in caring for someone. It could be the cost to unpaid carers’ wellbeing and ability to access health services. Equally, sometimes it’s the financial costs associated with looking after someone – or the effects on carers’ employment options.
Within Highland, local support is available:
The Council’s Welfare Support Team are able to undertake a full financial assessment of which benefits, grants and other support payments local carers may be eligible to apply for.
They can be contacted by phone (free of charge from landlines and mobile phones): 0800 090 1004 or email: Welfare.Support@highland.gov.uk
Further advice and guidance is also published at bit.ly/CarersRightsDay2022
Notes to Editors
The Motion agreed by members states:
“This Council meeting notes that:
- Carers – young and old, paid and unpaid whether in receipt of Carers Allowance and Carers Supplement or not do a truly remarkable and vital job. They are an integral part of our Highland community. They deserve our thanks and support, but are far too often forgotten, ignored and unrecognised.
- Carers across the country face big challenges every single day, challenges that have been made even harder by the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis. Most are having to spend more time looking after loved ones as we emerge from the pandemic and many haven’t been able to take a single break since it started and as a consequence are simply exhausted.
- Life changing events requiring care interventions can happen suddenly with little or no warning. Often the care givers have to reduce their working hours or give up work totally to adapt and cope with competing demands.
- The pressures on young carers can negatively impact on their experiences and outcomes in education, having a lasting effect on their life chances.
- All too often carers are unaware of their entitlement to financial support, a carers’ assessment or break, and the support services available.
- A significant number of full-time unpaid working-age carers in across Highland rely on Carer’s Allowance.
- At just £69.70 a week, Carer’s Allowance is totally inadequate.
- Many unpaid carers are facing extreme financial hardship brought on by the cost of living crisis. A recent survey by Carers UK found that Just under half (45%) of unpaid carers reported that they are currently unable to manage their monthly expenses and that any further increases in energy bills will negatively affect their own physical and mental health or that of the person they care for. They are often relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for.
- The Carers UK survey found that 43% of carers felt that a rise in Carer’s Allowance would help them, given the financial pressures they are facing.
Council resolves to:
- Recognising the importance of embracing the culture and aims of being a Carer Friendly Organisation and Council and undertakes to bring a detailed report to the March meeting of Council on how this can be achieved with support from the Community Planning Partner Organisations.
- Asks the Chief Executive to ensure that Highland Carers are made aware of Carers Rights Day and also made aware of existing support that is available including improving the information available through the council’s own website and other resources.
- Write to the Chancellor requesting an increase Carer’s Allowance and other benefits so they rise in line with current inflation predictions.
- Write to the Scottish Government and UK Government requesting an immediate extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme to ensure that it include carers on the lowest incomes. This would recognise the additional energy costs often faced by unpaid carers and provide targeted support to those most in need.
- That COSLA be lobbied with a view to achieving a campaign to see a rise in the earnings limit for those claiming Carer’s Allowance, so that it is at least equal to 16 hours work at the National Living Wage.”
Signed: Ron Gunn Alasdair Christie Richard Gale
Angela MacLean David Gregg Trish Robertson”