Carers worried over service cuts

Nearly 80% of unpaid carers in Scotland are worried about cuts to services, according to new research.

A total of 46% of 143 questioned also said they wonder how they will cope with the cuts if the axe falls on some of the vital support they rely on.

Almost three quarters, or 71% of 153, of those surveyed for Carers Week, which starts on Monday, also say they are worse off financially since they started looking after someone who is ill, frail or disabled.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers said these people save the Scottish economy £10.3 billion each year by relieving pressure on health and social services and serving their communities.

Florence Burke, director for Scotland for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: “Unpaid carers and young carers come from all walks of life and provide a vital and often unrecognised contribution to society. Many carers in Scotland fear the impact of cuts to services, but we can’t afford not to support carers through carers’ services, regular breaks and a life outside of caring.”

The theme of this year’s Carers Week is The True Face of Carers. It calls for greater recognition and support for the diverse, and often unexpected, range of people who give up their money, time and health to look after somebody else.

A total of 79% of carers, or 113, are worried about the proposed cuts, 69%, or 105, have suffered with health issues as a result of caring and 68%, or 110, of carers provide more than 50 hours of care a week.

In total 2,012 carers, including 179 in Scotland, took part in the survey in the UK, both online and by post. The research was carried out by Carers Week from February 1 to May 4. Some of the questions were mandatory.

Celebrities including Dame Judi Dench are supporting this year’s Carers Week.

Tom Clarke, Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, said: “The truth is that the fabric of our social services would fall apart without the contribution of carers. They should be supported by positive action which is meaningful to them and the persons for whom they care. The days of being patronised are long since passed.”