Two south of Scotland MSPs are lending their support to carers across the region, by chairing a Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has stepped in as co-convenor of the Cross Party Group on Carers, following the resignation of her colleague Mark MacDonald.  She joins her fellow south of Scotland MSP, Labour’s Claudia Beamish, who convenes the group.

The group exists to ensure equality of opportunity for carers across the region, and throughout Scotland, by liaising with carers’ organisations, lobbying the Government and promoting legislation on carers’ behalf.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“I am honoured to have been made co-convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers, an issue that is very close to my heart.  Carers are all very different, some may look after a disabled child, others an elderly or vulnerable relative, neighbour or friend and there is a distinctive group of young carers with particular needs.

“There are estimated to be over 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland.  This is 1 in 8 of the Scottish population who are involved in providing support.

She added;

“The Scottish Government has invested, and is investing, over £98 million in supporting carers and young carers between 2008 and 2015.  It’s all part of a strategy for carers which has put them high up on the government’s agenda.  I was particularly pleased that the SNP government expanded respite care and is taking forward the issues raised in Scotland’s first ever Carers Parliament that I attended in Edinburgh last year.

There is always more to do and it’s important that carers in every part of Scotland communicate their needs and concerns.  The Cross Party Group will discuss UK government welfare cuts and the integration of health and social care services in the course of the coming year – among other things.

Any local carers groups with issues they want to raise at the cross party group should feel free to contact myself or Claudia. “