The Carers Bill

Campaigning for Carers is a key area of our work and North Lanarkshire Carers Together has taken an active role in ensuring carers in North Lanarkshire are kept informed of developments and have every opportunity to have their views heard as part of the campaigning process.

A Fairer Scotland for Carers?

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The Carers (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 9th March 2015. This was a necessary and key step towards introducing new legislation to improve the identification and provision of support to Carers. This new legislation was promised by the then First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, at the 2nd Carers Parliament in Edinburgh in 2013 (reference: Carers and Young Carers: Statement of Intent: 1st October 2013: The Scottish Government: Edinburgh 2013). The Proposals set out a range of measures including the introduction of a new duty on local authorities to support Carers who are assessed as needing support and who meet eligibility criteria.

What Happens Next?

The Carers (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 9th March 2015. Like all new legislation it will go through a three-stage process, allowing for debate, additional evidence to be gathered and amendments to be made. This allows opportunities for the Bill to be further strengthened. We will continue to work closely with Carers and local and national Carer organisations to ensure this happens.

We will keep you up to date with progress. For more detailed information visit the Scottish Governments’ Website or view documents.

Stage 3 Debate and Amendments – The Carers (Scotland) Bill

The final debate of the Carers (Scotland) Bill was held in Parliament on the 4th of February.  The Bill was then voted through to become an Act of Parliament. Several of the amendments supported by carers and carer support organisations were passed. There were also some disappointments, including the failure of the amendment to introduce national, rather then local eligibility criteria for support.  This amendment was narrowly defeated in a vote.

For a summary of the debate - click this link:

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To read the full transcript - click this link:

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The Minister also made a very welcome announcement when he confirmed that the government intend to continue Carer Information Strategy funding in 2016 / 2017. He said: “We are continuing to support both adults and young carers in 2016 – 17, subject to the Parliament’s final approval of the budget. We are providing more than £8 million in 2016-17 for the voluntary sector short breaks fund, health board carer information strategies and other initiatives.”

The Carers (Scotland) Bill - Stage Two Amendments

The Health and Sport Committee met today (Tuesday 1st December) to consider the Carers Bill at Stage 2.  This was their second session in which they considered amendments to the Bill. A summary of the key amendments that were agreed and those that were not agreed can be downloaded here. The Minister also indicated that he may look again at some of the amendments at Stage 3 of the Bill process. The timetable for Stage 3 and the date for the Stage 3 Debate have not yet been announced.  We will let you know when this information is available. The National Carer Organisations will be producing briefing materials for Stage 3, these will be available in the next few weeks.

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