This week, more than 120 carers are saying Yes to independence as they launch their “Carers for Yes” declaration.
The declaration outlines their hopes and ambitions for an independent Scotland – a Scotland that is inclusive, welcoming, caring and aspirational for all its people, regardless of ability. There are more than 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland – providing medical, social and other care to disabled and sick relatives and friends.
Young carers often have similar responsibilities and balance this with growing up, going to school and making the transition to adulthood. The contribution made by carers has been valued at more than £10 billion a year. As carers who are voting Yes, we feel strongly about having a clear role in shaping a written constitution that enshrines the right to independent living, and which gives us a right to enjoy a life of our own. Too often, it’s difficult for carers to achieve their own aspirations as they battle bureaucratic and often inflexible systems.
We hope for, and want to be part of shaping, a more enabling benefits system that does more than provide a basic safety net. Some of our loved ones may never be able to take up paid work – but they contribute to society and to our communities in so many other ways. That must be recognised. They must be valued and treated as equal citizens.
Some of us have moved to Scotland and now feel this is our home. All of us want to see Scotland determine its own future – to have the full range of powers and services at our fingertips. We want to see a new approach to social care, better rewards for unpaid caring and systems and services which work together – sitting across two separate governments, these supports serve to add to stress and worry in our families.
Our hopes and dreams for a fairer Scotland are tied up with the hopes we have for those we care for, and love, every day. If they thrive, we thrive. We believe a Yes vote can deliver – we have no illusions as to the kind of journey this might involve – but like caring, the struggle can be worth it.
Members of Carers for Yes