KINSHIP carers are demanding there are no cuts to allowances under new legislation.

The Scottish Government is introducing a Bill that will see Kinship Care orders give new status to family members looking after relatives who are not their children.

Campaigners have been calling for changes to recognise the thousands of people, often grandparents, looking after children but until recently not receiving financial support.

Those caring for 'looked after' children receive an allowance in some areas, but campaigners say that will cease after three years under the Bill.

Campaigners and carers believe the new order will also see many allowances cut, as local authorities will set the rates. It won't be a national figure as has been suggested.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament Education Committee heard from charities and carers who were concerned there would be different systems in different council areas and that ultimately many would lose financial and other support.

Kate Higgins, of Children 1st, said: "Kinship care arrangements save us all a lot of money and it shouldn't be done on the cheap.

"Kinship carers want everyone to receive the same amount."

C ommittee convener Stewart Maxwell challenged carer Anne Swartz of the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance when she said allowances would be stopped after three years, stating it was to end for most, not all. He said: "It's not the cliff face you seem to describe."

Ms Swartz said it would end for the majority after three years.

Carers and campaigners are protesting outside the Scottish Parliament today.

Ms Swartz said the children being cared for by relatives would otherwise be in care, but are denied the support they would have if they were in foster care.

She said: "The Children and Young People's Bill is going to cut the support for Kinship Care children further.

"These children are Scotland's future and should be treated equally to other children in care. We are demanding that trauma therapy, educational support and basic financial allowances are provided to all kinship children as part of the new Bill."