ALEX Salmond has been accused of one of the SNP’s “most serious betrayals” by breaking a promise to ensure that the carers of thousands of children being looked after by grandparents or family friends are paid the same as foster carers.
The claims arose after it emerged that just that two-thirds of Scottish local authorities pay kinship carers the same rate as those fostering children.
The figures from Citizens Advice Scotland came more than four years after Mr Salmond told MSPs that he would “make progress” and was “extremely positive” about plans to increase the payments to kinship carers, which stand at between £40 and £90 – compared with the sums of between £135 and £190 paid to foster carers.
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie claimed there was a postcode lottery of financial support for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.
She said: “Alex Salmond’s New Year’s resolution should be to finally keep the promise he made four years ago to Scotland’s kinships carers.
“The SNP has broken many of their promises, but this is one of the most serious betrayals.
“It is now over four years since Alex Salmond agreed to spend £10 million to make sure kinship carers are treated on a par with foster carers.
“Yet across Scotland this is still not happening, and a forgotten army of carers are struggling to give these children a secure and happy upbringing.”
However, the Scottish Government dismissed Ms Baillie’s claims and insisted Mr Salmond’s administration had given councils “significant financial resources” to support kinship carers.
A government spokesman added: “The level of kinship care payments is the responsibility of local authorities, which are best placed to determine local need.”