Following the announcement on Wednesday 2 October, where Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his intentions to cut benefits to under 25s, a leading carers charity is warning that these cuts could have devastating consequences for young adult carers and the people they care for.
Florence Burke, Director for Scotland at Carers Trust, said:
“After hearing of the UK Government’s proposals to cut benefits to young adults we are deeply concerned and would urge them to think about the impact this may have on young adult carers who desperately need more, not less, support.
“There are an estimated 21,000 young adult carers (aged between 16-24) in Scotland. Many want to forge a life for themselves by continuing on to further education and subsequently a career path but, due to their caring responsibilities, feel that they can’t and feel guilty for attempting to do so.
“Research findings published by the National Union of Students in September revealed that more than half of student carers (56 per cent) had seriously considered leaving their course. In addition, two thirds of students regularly worry about not having enough money to meet their basic living allowance. Under current legislation, full-time students are not eligible for Carer's Allowance which is unfair, contributes to their financial hardship and impacts on their motivation to continue with their studies. Without qualifications, young adult carers struggle to enter employment in an already extremely competitive job market.
“We need the UK government to enable young adult carers to seize opportunities and to fulfil their ambitions and aspirations. A ‘one size fits all’ strategy for young adults is ineffective and could potentially damage the lives of young adult carers and the people they care for. Consideration for this group, and indeed for other vulnerable adults, should be a priority when deciding on the best way forward.”