Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Finance and Sustainable Growth – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 14 June 2007.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party 2:15, 14 June 2007

I am happy to congratulate Carers Scotland on the publication of the booklet "Carers and their Rights". I take this opportunity to say how pleased I was to hear that Cathy Peattie has been elected convener of the cross-party group on carers. The issue was dear to my heart in the previous session and I assure her that it will remain dear to my heart in this session.

The Government's policies will assist carers in a number of ways. As we set out in our manifesto, we are determined to tackle issues relating to flexible working, which will not only help carers but have a positive impact on a wide variety of policy areas. We are developing proposals on respite care and further training opportunities. In our joined-up Government, I was delighted this morning to read that the Minister for Public Health has announced support for a national festival for young carers that will take place as a result of a new funding package from the Executive. The festival will provide young carers with the opportunity to meet decision makers, including MSPs, and to have a say on the issues that matter to them. Carers' training, which is a key issue, is one of the priorities of the programme.