Support for unpaid carers vital

This week is carers’ week and I have taken the opportunity to back calls for more support for unpaid carers across Mid Scotland and Fife. With an estimated 61,000 unpaid carers throughout the region, with almost half providing over 20 hours of care a week, support is vital.

It is important that the work of unpaid carers does not go unrecognised and unsupported. According to Carers UK, Scotland’s carers save the country £10 billion a year. The least we can do is work to deliver more support for the thousands of unpaid carers across Fife.

Fife is home to over half of Mid Scotland and Fife’s unpaid carers, with Kirkcaldy top of the region with 7,580 unpaid carers ahead of Mid Fife and Glenrothes, which also has over 7,000.

The Carers Bill currently working its way through Parliament is a chance to ensure unpaid carers get the support they deserve. I will also be backing amendments that would increase the power of the Care Inspectorate in Scotland.

Under these plans the inspectorate will be given responsibility for inspecting the standards and provision of carer services across Scotland. As a result, support groups, information and advice centres for carers would have to meet a national standard.

Far too many of our unpaid carers feel isolated, they deserve a better deal. I hope the Carers Bill will give them that.