HUNDREDS of young carers have been identified in Glasgow in the last year looking after adult family members MSPs have been told.

There are concerns that many more are living with problems they are ill equipped to deal with which is having a damaging impact on their lives.

The Scottish Parliament Health Committee was taking evidence from social work bosses on the Scottish Government's plans for a Carers Bill.

Glasgow City Council said budget cuts will have a negative effect on social work and that other agencies had to take on some responsibility for identifying young carers in need of support.

Fred Beckett, Glasgow City Council Social Work Services team manager, said they needed to identify those in need sooner.

He said: "There were 300 young carers identified in Glasgow last year. But we don't see the most vulnerable, those living with someone with mental health and addiction problems.

"By the time we get there they are damaged and vulnerable children."

He said the approach to identifying and supporting young carers was crucial in determining their life chances.

He added: "We need to get it right or we will still be fire fighting in social work."

Mr Becket said it wasn't acceptable that very young children are considered to be carers.

The Bill speaks about children not yet of school age but who have caring responsibilities in the home.

Mr Becket said: "A child under school age taking on a caring role is not a very good indictment of our society."

Children's Commissioner Tam Baillie said: "For children under school age, they are children first and carers second.

There shouldn't be any acceptance of that age being in a caring role. Even above that age we have to strike a balance between capability of the child and the expectation of their caring role."

He said children can sometimes thrive in the role of a carer but he said they must be allowed to have a childhood.

Mr Becket said identifying those who are caring or family members was crucial.

He said it can't be left to the council social work departments.

Mr Becket said the NHS had a role to play as for a child to become a carer there had to be a diagnosis of a long term debilitating condition often Parkinson's, Motor Neurone Disease or MS.

He said young people were also more likely to accept interventions from health staff like a nurse than social work.

Last year Glasgow identified 3200 new carers, Mr Becket said.

He added: "We need the NHs to tell us when they diagnose someone with a long term condition."

The council said it will have difficulty dealing with increased workload

In a written submission to the committee, the Social Work Department said: "Offering all carers a Carer Support Plan created significant challenges for Glasgow.

"Local Authority settlements over the next few years will severely reduce social care budgets and this will have an impact on the delivery of social work services supporting those carers the impact of caring was greatest."