AT least 450 carers will lose £3,000 because of changes to the benefit system, according to the Scottish Government.
Holyrood have also said that the final figure could be much higher, but the Department for Work and Pension is holding back information.
The news came as the Conservative Government confirmed plans for “significant” cuts to benefits over the next decade.
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In answer to a Parliamentary Question submitted by MSP Christina McKelvie, the Scottish Government have estimated that 450 people who receive carer’s allowance “would lose over £3,000 per year, in Scotland as a result of the move from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)”.
The written answer continues: “However, this estimate was based on a DWP impact assessment which was published in 2013, at the start of the PIP implementation. Since then, the rollout has been subject to delays and so we do not have a clear position as to the real impact on carers in Scotland”.
Yesterday charities joined the Scottish Government in calling for welfare powers to be devolved to Holyrood.
The SCVO, the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises said that the news was “devastating”.
A spokesperson for SCVO said: “This news will have a devastating impact on carers and their families right across the country who are already struggling simply to get by from one day to the next.
“With vital social care services disappearing or families being priced out of existing services, the only option for thousands of people is to give up work to care for their loved ones. They must be supported to do so and the huge effort they put into looking after the most vulnerable people in our communities should be praised.
“That’s why we would like to see welfare powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament so we have a chance to implement our own, more compassionate system which supports people instead of punishing them.”
The Personal Independence Payment was introduced in 2012 as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance. Both benefits are to help with the cost of living with a disability. The PIP was supposed to be rolled out nationally by October 2015, but has been delayed.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who asked the question, said the statistics released by the minister were “deeply worrying”.
McKelvie said: “This Parliamentary Answer which finds 450 carers stand to lose £3,000 per year as a result of unfair Tory welfare reforms is deeply worrying – and the fact that the Department for Work and Pensions has failed to provide the Scottish Government with a clear position is of further concern.
“Carers play such a vital role in looking after loved ones – and we owe them a massive debt of gratitude. The UK Government must come clean on the number of carers in Scotland that will lose out as a result of the roll out of Personal Independence Payments. Scotland’s carers can’t afford Tory cuts to their support. We need full powers over social security in Scotland to allow us to protect, support and empower people who need help, rather than pushing them into poverty with punitive cuts and sanctions as the Tories are doing.”
The DWP claimed that the welfare powers in the Scotland Bill would make an impact.
A spokesperson said: “The fact is a higher proportion of Personal Independence Payments claimants receive the highest rate, so entitling their carer to Carer’s Allowance, than the proportion of Disability Living Allowance claimants who do.”
It was revealed in yesterday’s Sunday Times, that some of the measures the Tory government will use to shave £12 billion off the benefits budget include banning anyone under 25 claiming housing benefit, and restricting child tax credits to a couple’s first two children. More details will be revealed in George Osborne’s emergency budget on July 8.