FINANCIAL pressures facing young carers are so bad, some risk blighting their futures, according to a new study.
There are more than 80,000 young carers in Scotland, who have responsibility for looking after a relative who is sick, elderly or disabled.
A survey carried out by the Scottish Youth Parliament found that 74 per cent of young carers had experienced stress or worry due to their financial circumstances, while 41 per cent said they struggled to afford basic necessities.
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A third of those still at school said they did not believe they could afford to go to college or university, while of those in further or higher education 80 per cent said they had considered dropping out due to concerns about money or inability to study enough.
The authors of A Costly Youth: The impact of caring on young people in Scotland said caring was also having an impact on the emotional well being of young carers.
Speaking about the publication of the research, Louise Cameron, chairwoman of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: "I hope the findings of this report will prompt wider discussions with Government, local authorities and the wider third sector about how we address these issues together.
"There is a significant lack of recognition and awareness of the challenges facing those with caring responsibilities. Specifically, more needs to be done to address the needs of Scotland's young adult carers, whose struggles too often go unnoticed."
Young carer Lauren King said: "I have to balance caring, attending university and doing part-time work to make ends meet. It is extremely difficult when your financial situation dictates a part-time job must be your priority. Young carers like myself always have to compromise."
Louise Morgan, from the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and Carers Trust, said: "Our alliance of young carers services supports over 4,000 young carers.
"We hope that bringing these issues to the fore will encourage decision makers to make better provision for young carers."