Dumfries Carers Are Losing Cash

A COUNCIL cash compromise is leaving kinship carers worse off, it was claimed yesterday. According to the Kindred Spirits group, the only people the weekly £45 payment helps, are those who were coping financially anyway.

Unemployed carers and those receiving benefits have seen Child Tax Credit taken away.

Tulip Rippingale of Kindred Spirits said: “Child Tax Credit is worth around £50 to people. So they are losing out.

“There is a lot of confusion over the council decision. We’ve been sold short by the Government. This is causing people a lot of stress. We will continue to fight for a change.

“Councillors should have taken a million pounds from reserves, paid the carers in full. I was told by someone from Mid Lothian that is what happened there.

“We were told we would start at £119 rising according to age (of looked after children).

“I was at a conference in Aberdeen on Tuesday and managed to explain my situation to the minister, Adam Ingram. He asked me to email details of the case. I understand he is due to meet the council in a couple of weeks.”

The social work services committee was told earlier this month that the Scottish Government cash settlement for kinship care payments, intended to be on a par with foster care payments, fell £472,000 short of the total needed for a three-year package.

Councillor Willie Scobie argued that cash from the reserves should be used to pay the carers, with the council lobbying to get the money back from the government.

But members backed council leader Ivor Hyslop’s view that, if they did spend the money, the Government would simply take the view the council could afford it.

A council spokesman said the social work services committee agreed an allowance of £45 a week for each child backdated to October 1, applicable to carers of looked after children and carers of children with comparable needs to a looked after child.

“The level of payment was based on finances currently available and ensures every penny received from the Scottish Government for kinship care is being spent now, 18 months before the Scottish Government deadline,” he said.

It was also agreed to lobby the Department of Work and Pensions not to penalise carers on benefits who will be receiving payments.

“All kinship carers of looked-after children have been written to, explaining the situation relating to the scheme. In addition, contact has been, or is in the process of being, made with representative organisations and the service director is responding to individual inquiries as appropriate,” he added.