Scotland and the General Election

It’s now less than 50 days until the UK General Election and just over six months since the Scottish independence referendum, and we’re looking at a very different political landscape than before the referendum took place.

For carers, it can be tricky to see exactly what impact Westminster politics has on Scotland. YCsHealth, housing and social care have been under the control of the Scottish Parliament since 1999. More recently, the Smith Commission proposed that the majority of carers’ benefits and disability benefits should also be devolved for carers and their families in Scotland. This could be a big step for carers if it is done well – as many areas of policy that affect unpaid carers such as health, housing and social care have been devolved for a long time, it makes sense for the associated welfare and benefits policies to also be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. If the draft clauses for further devolution are put in place, then the Scottish Parliament will hopefully be able to reverse the damaging impact that welfare reform and spending cuts has had on carers’ lives.

So what is the point of Westminster for carers in Scotland? Well, funding still comes to Scotland from decisions made by the UK Government. Whilst negotiations about further powers for Scotland are still taking place, we need to make sure that the needs of unpaid carers remain high on the campaign agenda both during and after this General Election, especially with the Scottish Election happening in 2016. Campaigning for the Scottish Parliament Election will be affected by what happens on 7 May, and in Scotland we will continue to work with all political parties to ensure unpaid carers are a high priority. MPs and MSPs in the same party do work together, so it’s worth making sure that your voice is heard in the Westminster elections.

OCsAhead of the General Election we want all political parties to remember carers in their manifestos and prioritise their needs. We are calling for the NHS to have a duty to identify carers and that health and care services need to be better co-ordinated to deliver for carers, who need and deserve quality care and support. Make sure to contact your local candidates to ask what they will do to ensure unpaid carers are supported in their role and have a life outside of caring.

Last but by no means least, use your vote. You can register to vote online if you haven’t already, and must do this by 20 April. When registering you can apply for a postal or proxy vote if you need one. Registration is now individual rather than household, so make sure that anyone else in your household who wants to vote is also registered. You can read more about how to register to vote on the Carers Trust website.

Heather Noller is Policy and Parliamentary Officer at Carers Trust Scotland



March 25, 2015 - Posted by | General Election, Scotland

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