Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde has called on local politicians from all parties to get behind historic funding for Scotland’s new social security agency – a move that will support carers and low-income families across the country.
Outlining his draft budget proposals for 2019-20 last month, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP announced £37 million to fund the Scottish Government’s Carers Allowance Supplement in recognition of the important contribution carers make in our society.
In 2019-20, the supplement will be paid for a second year running and will see an inflationary rise in the benefit that will go to around 75,000 carers across Scotland.
The Finance Secretary also revealed plans to commit £12.4 million for the new Best Start Grants – providing financial support of up to £600 for low-income families on the birth of a child, with two subsequent £250 payments given when a child begins nursery and school to start later this year.
On top of this, a substantial allocation of £6.2 million will fund the Scottish Government’s new Funeral Expense Assistance, providing low-income families with a contribution towards the cost of a loved one’s funeral – £2 million more than the UK Government previously spent.
The Young Carer Grant will also offer vital assistance to those aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but don’t qualify for the Carer’s Allowance – giving young carers the chance to explore employment, social or leisure opportunities outside away from their responsibilities.
Commenting, the local SNP MSP, said:
“The Finance Secretary’s plan to commit £37 million of support through the Carers Allowance Supplement will allow the Scottish Government to increase the financial support to carers, ensuring an additional £450 goes directly into the pockets of carers here in Inverclyde.
“I recognise the invaluable contribution young carers make to society, and support through the new £300 Young Carers Grant will help ensure they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
“Launched last year, the SNP’s Best Start Grant proved extremely popular with families the length and breadth of Scotland. This expanded and improved scheme has been welcome news for many of my constituents.
“These are just the first steps in the delivery of even more benefits to support people in our society, as the Scottish Government looks to tackle inequality and reduce poverty.
“Inverclyde’s politicians should get behind Derek Mackay’s proposals and secure substantial funding support for carers and low income families across Scotland.”