Allowances are being raised across Scotland as a direct result of struggling foster carers’ tireless campaigning. By getting organised and forming a union, these workers have managed to show that positive change is possible despite the government’s best efforts to silence them every step of the way.
Whilst those at the top will try to present this marginal increase as a magical fix for their broken system, carers on the frontline know there’s still a long way to go to save a sector that’s been on its knees for years. On average, families will get less than £29 extra a week per child - a drop in the ocean for carers who spend more than that on electricity alone. Taking into account inflation and the rising costs of living, these adjustments will barely scratch the surface of Scotland’s ongoing care crisis. In Glasgow, for example, foster carers will still be on average 30% worse off than they were in 2010 when the government introduced austerity. What’s more, any progress made by these increases will soon be eroded without future protections against inflation.
Ultimately, today’s announcement is a desperate attempt to paper over the cracks in the Scottish foster care system without acknowledging the deep set structural failings. Councils are wasting millions every year on private providers whilst local authority carers are left counting pennies. Anyone can see that radical reform is needed and, until we have it, gestures like these will do little to improve the lives of Scotland’s most vulnerable children. Carers will continue to join the union and campaign together until they win the pay and conditions needed to save the system, and secure their foster children a better future.
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