New research shows unpaid carers are now facing unprecedented financial pressure – support our campaign!
Today, Carers UK have released new research based on a survey of over 3,300 carers which reveals that the financial pressure that many unpaid carers are facing has now become unsustainable.
You can download the research briefing here.
Please see their press release here.
As you will know, caring often comes with additional costs that can have a significant impact on carers’ finances, and many carers suffer financial hardship as a direct result of the care they provide. With energy bills currently soaring and the cost of food and everyday items spiralling, we are now extremely concerned that carers in the UK are facing a cost of living crisis. Carers told us last year that they were having to dip into their savings, use credit cards, and cut back on essentials to keep the person they care for warm and healthy.
Their new research today reveals that just under half (45%) of unpaid carers are currently unable to manage their monthly expenses and that any further increases in energy bills will negatively affect their own physical and mental health or that of the person they care for. Many also said they were having to take difficult steps to manage their monthly expenses; 58% have cut back on heating while 14% have already fallen into arrears with their energy bills. In the months ahead, 42% thought that they would not be able to heat their home to a safe level, while 32% are worried they will have to use a food bank.
They are very concerned that unprecedented levels of stress and financial worries are now being piled on unpaid carers after an extremely challenging two years caring through COVID-19. Without immediate action from Government we are concerned that hundreds of thousands of carers will be unable to cope.
To ensure carers are supported during this extremely difficult time, Carers UK is calling on the UK Government to immediately:
1. Increase Carer’s Allowance and other benefits in line with current inflation predictions for April 2022. Carer’s Allowance is set to rise by only 3.1% in April 2022, while inflation (CPI) is expected to reach 7.25%.
2. Extend the Warm Home Discount scheme to ensure that it include carers. This is in recognition of the additional energy costs often faced by unpaid carers.
3. Address the lack of financial security that many carers have faced for years as a direct result of their caring responsibilities. We particularly want to see the Government increase the level of carers’ benefits including Carer’s Allowance so that it is no longer the lowest benefit of its kind. We also want to see the earnings limit for those claiming Carer’s Allowance to rise, so that it is at least equal to 16 hours work at the National Living Wage (and pegged to it in future years), and to provide a Carer’s Allowance Supplement to all carers with an entitlement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – as those in Scotland have received since 2018 – so all carers across the UK receive the same level of support.
Below are some ways in which you can support Carers UK campaign:
• Complete their campaign action and write to your MP using the template letter. Please make any carers that you are in contact with aware of our campaign, and ask them to also write to their MP.
• Sign their open letter to the Chancellor – the deadline for signatures is 5pm on 17 March. Email email@example.com for more information.
• Support the campaign on social media – please see our social media toolkit