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Replacement for Carer’s Allowance to be rolled out in 2023, says minister

A new devolved benefit for carers will begin next year (Jane Barlow/PA)
A new devolved benefit for carers will begin next year (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Government’s replacement for the Carer’s Allowance benefit will begin to be rolled out at the end of 2023, a minister has said.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said the new devolved benefit, called Carer’s Assistance, would be fully implemented in 2024.

Carer’s Allowance is currently paid by the DWP to unpaid carers – people who provide more than 35 hours a week of care to someone receiving disability benefit.

Mr Macpherson addressed MSPs in Holyrood on Thursday afternoon, updating them on the progress of benefits being administered from Scotland.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Ben Macpherson updated MSPs on the new benefit (Lesley Martin/PA)

He said Low Income Winter Heating Assistance would begin this year and provide 400,000 low-income households with £50 towards heating costs.

Mr Macpherson said: “I’m pleased to announce today that we will begin to roll out Scottish Carers Assistance by the end of 2023 with full national introduction in spring 2024.

“The final dates will be agreed following our ongoing work with the UK Government.”

The Scottish Government is considering making improvements on the benefit, he said, including additional payments for those who look after more than one disabled person and lifting the earnings threshold.

Miles Briggs allegations
Miles Briggs said the UK Government had helped families through the pandemic (Jane Barlow/PA)

He added: “In the meantime, we will continue to pay the Carer’s Allowance Supplement – real, tangible support to around 90,000 carers.

“We have now delivered £188 million of Carer’s Allowance Supplement support since it was introduced in 2018.”

Responding to him in the debating chamber, Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said Holyrood now had “unprecedented” powers over social security thanks to the 2016 Scotland Act.

He said: “It goes to the heart of the devolution settlement, following the 2014 independence referendum, where this Parliament is responsible now for a greater number of decisions we take for the people of Scotland.”

Mr Briggs added: “If the pandemic has demonstrated anything, it is the benefits of the broad shoulders of the UK, which has helped to protect and support families to get through the pandemic.”

The Chancellor’s statement on Thursday demonstrated how the UK Government was helping, he said.

Scottish Labour’s Pam Duncan-Glancy said the SNP had failed to make radical improvements to the benefits system.

She said: “They had warm words but, as is too often the case, they have failed to turn them into action.”

Delays were still being announced six years on from the passage of the Social Security Act, she said.