Central Scotland list MSP Mark Griffin raised the issue of unpaid care work at First Minister’s Questions, following publication of a damning new report from Oxfam.
The charity’s Time to Care report reveals the value of unpaid care work is £36 billion a year in Scotland.
It highlights that 81 per cent of people in Scotland think unpaid care work is not valued highly enough, with 72 per cent backing both the Scottish and UK Governments to spend more on social security benefits for carers of those who are sick or disabled.
Raising the issue with Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Griffin said: “Carers across Scotland are often driven into poverty, become completely removed from the job market and experience mental and physical ill-health because of the scale of the burden linked to caring.
“It is deeply disappointing when the Department for Work and Pensions increases the carers allowance earnings threshold by just £5 in April, our carers will risk losing the benefit if they go 1p over.
“This situation has only occurred because the Scottish Government refuses to take complete responsibility for carers allowance, now fully devolved, and are content to leave the delivery of this key benefit with the DWP.”
Ms Sturgeon responded: “I certainly agree the DWP does not provide adequate support to carers, and I would like to see that support increased.
“That is why we are using our powers to increase the support carers are entitled to. The carers allowance supplement gives just over £450 extra a year, and the young carers grant, which will be an annual £300 payment.
“It is about not only financial support, but providing support in other ways as well, and it is vital that we continue to do that.
“I hope that, collectively as a Parliament, we continue to urge the United Kingdom Government to give better support as well.”