Serious concerns remain about the funding for a new Bill aimed at providing greater support for carers.

Both Labour and the Conservatives highlighted fears legislation from the Scottish Government could be "unrealistically costed" with insufficient cash available.

Labour's Rhoda Grant and Nanette Milne of the Scottish Conservatives both spoke out as MSPs debated the Carers (Scotland) Bill.

If passed, the legislation would require councils to prepare plans for adult and young carers setting out their support needs.

Local authorities would also have to set up an information and advice service for carers in their areas.

Ms Grant said: "Carers are used to warm words and appreciative statements but they really need support.

"On the face of it this Bill offers that but it does need to be strengthened to make sure it delivers real support for carers."

She told how some carers are forced to "cope in circumstances that are often difficult to comprehend", adding she had heard from people who "are at breaking point, collapsing from the stress and exhaustion of caring yet receive no support".

Carers' organisations and local government body Cosla have both raised concerns the finances linked to the bill are "not realistic about the cost of providing support", she said.

Ms Grant stated: "They (ministers) have committed £16 million but it's not clear if this from the funding already allocated to the Bill or is this new money?

"There are other aspects of the Bill which are also unrealistically costed."

Dr Milne said the support provided by carers was worth some £10.3 billion a year, adding: "The aims of the Bill are laudable and if they are achieved could make a significant improvement to the lives of the carers who make such valuable contribution to our society."

She said Holyrood's Health Committee had heard "serious reservations" about parts of the legislation.

Dr Milne raised fears it could place an increased demand on councils to support carers and added: "There are still very serious concerns about the adequacy of the funding to be made available."

While both Labour and the Conservatives backed the general principles of the Bill, Dr Milne added: "There is some way still to go to ensure it becomes the effective piece of legislation which is envisaged by the Government."

Health improvement minister Jamie Hepburn sought to reassure MSPs the assistance given to carers would be "proportionate to the needs to be met" and would reflect the "wishes, preferences and aspirations" of the carers themselves.

He said: "It can be what might be described as a light touch where that is consistent with those needs, preferences and aspirations.

"The critical thing is that each individual carer should get a support plan that matches their assessed needs and additional resources for local authorities will accompany the Bill."

Mr Hepburn said the Government would also bring forward an amendment to the Bill to ensure the plans include information about planning for emergencies, after carer organisations raised concerns about support for loved-ones when their carer is unexpectedly unavailable.

He added: "Latest figures tell us there are around 759,000 carers in Scotland, that works out at around 17% of the population.

"Of those, around 171,000 provide more than 35 hours of care per week, and 29,000 are aged 16 and under.

"Through this Carers Bill we hope to give carers more rights, more support and more peace of mind."