Caring and cost of living campaign by Jackie Baillie.
By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie met with unpaid carers and their representative organisations at Holyrood to discuss their first-hand experience of the cost of living crisis ahead of the party’s debate on the issue.
The debate sought to highlight the challenges being faced by both paid and unpaid carers as pressures escalate from the cost of living crisis.
Jackie Baillie pressed the SNP to match the increased mileage allowance for NHS staff given to social care workers as well, calling it “shameful” that carers have been left with a lower rate.
The debate also focused on the situation of unpaid carers who the Dumbarton constituency MSP argued needed action from the Scottish Government, which includes the restoration and expansion of respite services, with entitlements to short breaks and well-being services.
Ms Baillie said: “It was important for myself and my Scottish Labour colleagues to speak directly with carers face to face to hear their stories before going into this debate.
“We have listened to unpaid carers and have taken on board what they are going through, in particular with the backdrop of the devastating cost of living crisis.
“The pandemic has shone a light on how important paid and unpaid care is, but also how badly undervalued and underfunded it has been.
“This cost of living crisis is now adding pressures to carers’ lives, showing how little the Scottish Government has done to address the issues exposed by the pandemic.
“It is nothing short of shameful that the SNP have left carers out of pocket by refusing to uprate their mileage reimbursement.
“I have heard directly from social care staff in my constituency working in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh who are considering leaving the profession because they are being priced out of working in care.
“The SNP government need to follow our lead and sit down with carers, listening closely to what they are telling us – because it is transparently clear that their response to this crisis is falling badly short.”