As of August 2018, there are an estimated 788,000 people in Scotland who are caring for a relative, friend or neighbour. This includes 44,000 who are under the age of 18.
Now in force, the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 looks to extend and enhance the rights of these carers in Scotland to help improve their health and wellbeing, so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, and have a life alongside caring.
This includes a Carers’ Charter, which sets out the rights of carers in or under the Act.
In addition to the Act and Charter, since 2007 the Scottish Government has invested over £135 million in a range of programmes and initiatives to support carers and young carers. This has included work to:
- Improve employment rights and opportunities for carers, helping them to stay in employment alongside caring if they so wish, through the work of the Carer Positive Employment Scheme;
- Improve the quality and quantity of short breaks for carers, young carers and their families;
- Support and facilitate a series of Carers’ Parliaments, with the next instalment due to take place in November 2018.
- Support the ongoing activities and work involved with the Young Carers Festival, which is now in its twelfth year.