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What does the General Election mean for carers in Scotland?

Map of Scotland showing which party holds each constituency

What will the election mean for Scotland’s 657,000 carers and 100,000 young carers?

Well the starter pistol was sounded by Gordon Brown on Tuesday and we’ve begun the race to the the General Election on 6th May.

Never before have carer issues been so central to an election – with the three main parties and media picking up on funding for social care and respite issues in recent months.

But what does this all mean for Scotland’s 657,000 carers and 100,000 young carers.

First, whilst many of the issues you will hear being discussed may not seem to directly impact on Scotland, funding for things like social care and health come to Scotland via the Treasury’s funding.

Second, any future cuts to public spending will impact on Scotland through the Barnett Formula and this will impact on what the Scottish Government has to spend, and in turn, what local authorities will have in their coffers from next year onwards. The Concordat between Scottish and local government has changed how money is allocated to local authorities and how local authorities then spend this.

This all means that we need to make sure that the needs of unpaid carers remain high on the campaign agenda both during and after this General Election. Whichever political party wins, we can expect unpaid carers in Scotland to be affected by the work of the new UK Government both directly, through any proposed changes to welfare benefits for example, and indirectly via the Treasury’s settlement for the Scottish Budget.

Contact your local party representative to ask what they will do to ensure unpaid carers are supported in their role and have a life outside of caring. Ask them to explain their party’s plans for social care and health. Ask them to campaign for increases to Carers’ Allowance and to ensure that Cold Weather and Winter Fuel payments take account of unpaid carers.

In Scotland, we will continue to work with all political parties to ensure unpaid carers are a high political priority and that this is reflected as the Scottish Government moves to set its budget for 2011 onwards.

And use your vote! If you can’t get out of the house, you can get a postal vote. Like Gordon said in March, your vote matters and your vote as a carer means that the voice of carers in Scotland is heard loud and clear during the election.

As a carer myself, I will certainly be at my local polling station first thing on 6th May…

Take care,

Lynn

PS, The BBC have put together a really handy map that lets you explore all 650 UK constituencies that are up for grabs in May.

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April 9, 2010 - Posted by | General Election | , ,

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