A new analysis of the extent of unpaid caring in Scotland has shown that around 759,000 people are caring for a relative, friend or neighbour which is around 17 per cent of the population.
The publication gives one of the clearest and most detailed pictures of the caring population ever produced, covering issues like gender, carers’ health, employment and deprivation. It was produced by the Scottish Government to get a better picture of the scale and nature of Scottish caring.
Around 171,000 carers provide more than 35 hours of care a week. There are around 29,000 young carers aged under 16 which is four per cent of that age group.
The publication comes a fortnight after the introduction of the Carers Bill to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill extends carers’ rights in law. It will entitle every adult carer to their own support plan, with young carers receiving a similar young carer statement. These will set out the needs of each carer, and the help and support they can receive.
In welcoming this study Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson MSP, said:
“The Scottish Government has made carers’ rights a priority, but in order to look after their needs properly we need to understand exactly what the unpaid carer population looks like. That’s why this study commissioned this extensive statistical publication.
“I know from visiting the Falkirk Carers Centre and dealing with constituents with caring responsibilities of the enormous contribution that carers make to their families, communities and to the wider economy.
“We will probably never be able to do enough to truly reflect that contribution. But through the Carers Bill, and an investment of more than £114 million in carers’ support programmes, I know that we are making some significant progress.”