2. Policy intention
The Commission welcomes the creation of a Young Carer Grant (YCG); a form of assistance that does not exist in the current UK system. The Scottish Government’s aim for the new Grant is commendable and clearly stated in the consultation document1See: https://consult.gov.scot/social-security/consultation-on-young-carer-grant-regulations as to:
“provide support during a key transition period in young carers’ lives to help improve their health and education outcomes as they move into the adult world. . .”2Consultation on Young Carer Grant Regulations, p6
This document further provides welcome recognition that:
“For many young adults with significant caring responsibilities, their opportunities may be limited by their caring role. The aim of the Young Carer Grant is to . . . help improve their quality of life and break down barriers, so that young carers can access opportunities that are the norm for many other young people.”3 ibid
Young people aged 16-18 are often at a transition point in their lives as they move into adulthood. They may be finishing school, getting their first job or entering post-16 education. The consultation document provides evidence that young carers have poorer physical and mental wellbeing than non-carers, are considerably more likely to live in the most deprived areas of Scotland and disproportionately to experience social isolation. The Commission welcomes the Scottish Government’s work to highlight the evidence underpinning these aims.
These policy aims thus appear to reflect Scotland’s responsibilities under the international human rights framework, in particular, to support young carers to more fully participate in society and to strengthen their opportunities to realise their wider social, economic and cultural rights. They indicate that the Scottish Government is taking seriously its commitment to a human rights based approach and that it is thinking widely about how new forms of assistance can support people to realise a whole range of human rights as opposed to a more narrow focus on the right to social security. This is also consistent with the principle that “social security is a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights”4Principle (b) in Section 1 of the Social (Security) Scotland Act 2018.
The overall ambition of the Scottish Government’s policy intent therefore seems well aligned with human rights and social security principles. Consistency with the design of the Grant as set out in the draft regulations is considered as applicable throughout the report.