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Today (28 November 2012) MSPs in the Scottish Parliament are debating the Social Care Scotland Bill that will determine the support offered to unpaid carers for those with debilitating illnesses or disabilities.
But the Bill in its current form could see carers face charges from local authorities for vital support services, says care campaigners.
An amendment has been put forward to protect carers and close this loophole. Heather McNaughton-Wilford has started a petition on Change.org asking that the Scottish Government to reconsider the situation and ensure that unpaid carers will not be charged for receiving the crucial support they need.
She writes: "My son Andrew is 18-years-old and has severe cerebral palsy, which means he needs constant care. My husband and I juggle work with looking after Andrew and his younger sisters. We are just two of Scotland's thousands of unpaid carers.
"The help we get from the local authority allows Andrew to take part in activities independently and gives us some overnight respite, so he has time to develop as a young man and my husband and I get to spend some time with his sisters.
"There are over 600,000 unpaid carers in Scotland and ministers have told us how much they value the contribution we make. But without some help from local authorities we simply wouldn't be able to keep doing what we do.
"Already existing charges and tightening eligibility mean that carers across Scotland are struggling to access the support needed to ensure that the people we love and care for can live with dignity and be fully part of our communities."
The petition to ask MSPs to make sure unpaid carers continue to receive the support they need without facing charges can be found here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-scottish-government-prevent-lo...
The situation and further action will be reviewed in the light of the outcome of the Bill discussion in the Scottish Parliament.
Update, 1 December 2012: Scottish carers delighted by support services victory http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17504Tweet