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Gavin celebrates carers and calls for an end to cuts

Gavin Newlands, the Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has today – on the first day of Carers Week 2015 – lodged an Early Day Motion (EDM) that celebrates the 759,000 carers in Scotland and has called on the UK Government to scrap their plans for a further £12 billion of ‘callous cuts’ to the welfare budget.

Carers Week 2015, running between 8th and 14th June, recognises and celebrates the selfless commitment and care that Carers provide for loved ones. It celebrates the efforts of people who provide care for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse issues, in the home and within communities.

Gavin Newlands MP Early Day Motion recognises and celebrates the unwavering and selfless work of carers in Scotland and across the UK, as well as the crucial support provided to carers by third sector organisations.

However, Mr Newlands has today condemned the UK Government for the devastating impact that their iniquitous welfare reforms – for example, the roll out of the Personal Independence Payment – has and will have on the lives of carers and those they care for, and has called on the UK Government to abandon their plans for a further £12 billion of cuts to the welfare budget in order to avoid exacerbating existing problems for carers and their families.

The local MP has also joined calls for the Scottish Government to raise the rate of Carers Allowance to the same level of Job Seeker’s Allowance once this power is devolved to Scotland. Carers Allowance is currently £62 per week and Job Seeker’s Allowance is currently set at £73 per week – a raise in Carers Allowance to £73 per week would see carers almost £600 better off per year.

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“The 759,000 carers in Scotland are making incredible differences to lives of some of our most vulnerable people within our local communities the length and breadth of Scotland each and every day of the year, and save the Scottish economy £7.6 billion each year.

“To put it simply, our carers are the unsung heroes of Scottish society and without their unwavering dedication our public services simply could not survive – during Carers Week we, quite rightly, recognise and celebrate our carers.

“Carers are often dependent solely on the social security system for their income because they cannot work whilst caring for a loved one – the same social security system which is under a relentless assault by this Tory government in London.

“That is why I am today calling on the UK Government to scrap their plans for a further £12 billion of callous cuts to the welfare budget – a new wave of cuts to welfare will only serve to exacerbate existing problems that our carers and their families face and will drive many into extreme poverty and hardship.

“However, the status quo is untenable. Today, I am joining calls – as I did during the Westminster election campaign – for the rate of Carers Allowance to be increased to at least £73 per week, in line with Job Seeker’s Allowance. This increase would see many carers better off by almost £600 per year.

“We can, we should and we must do more to protect and extend the rights and well-being of our carers and the people that they care for – the UK Government must scrap their plans and, instead, ensure that we do all we can to support our carers.”

Lauren King, the Scottish Youth Parliament’s lead campaigner for Care.Fair.Share said:

“I’m delighted to see my new MP, Gavin Newlands, fighting the corner of carers like myself and the people we care for in Westminster Parliament.

“The UK Government’s cuts to the welfare budget have already put intense pressure on carers and those we care for – a further £12 billion of cuts that the Westminster government propose would make life impossible for many vulnerable people.

“I also support Gavin Newlands’ calls for Carers Allowance to be increased to the same rate of Job Seeker’s Allowance. It simply isn't fair that carers do not receive the same support as those looking for work."

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