Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:41 am on 14 June 2007.

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Photo of Bashir Ahmad Bashir Ahmad Scottish National Party 11:41, 14 June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to help address the needs of carers. (S3O-207)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I thank Bashir Ahmad for raising the issue during carers week.

We recognise the crucial role that Scotland's thousands of unpaid carers play and the importance of ensuring that they can access the support that they need. The Scottish Government is committed to intensifying efforts to take forward the conclusions of the care 21 report. Specific initiatives to improve support to carers will be considered in the forthcoming spending review.

However, as a signal of our intent, I announced earlier today an additional £400,000 over the next two years to help to address two of the care 21 recommendations: we will establish a young carer forum to help give young carers a greater voice in Scottish public life and we will work with the national carer organisations to extend their piloting of carer training, helping carers—particularly new carers—to gain the knowledge and skills that they need to cope more effectively with their caring role.

Photo of Bashir Ahmad Bashir Ahmad Scottish National Party

I welcome the Executive's commitment to carers throughout Scotland. For too long, ethnic origin and language have been unacceptable barriers to ethnic minority carers receiving much-needed support. Will the minister carefully consider more support for ethnic minority carers?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

Public bodies, including local authorities and health boards, are responsible for ensuring that their services meet the needs of the ethnic minority carers. Indeed, they have a legal duty to do so. Guidelines on carer assessments highlight the need for assessments to be culturally sensitive and to offer interpreting support where needed. National health service carer information strategies, which are just coming into effect, are specifically required to address the identification and information needs of carers from ethnic minority groups. In addition, I will ensure that the additional piloting of carer training that I announced earlier today includes work on training for carers from ethnic minority communities.