Heading for crisis: Caught between caring and rising costs

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Carers UK is calling on the government to urgently address the unprecedented financial hardship that unpaid carers are currently facing, in the face of the UK’s cost of living crisis.

Unpaid carers are facing unprecedented financial difficulties because of the UK’s current cost of living crisis, piling further stress on those caring for family and friends after an extremely challenging two years caring through COVID-19. Without urgent support from Government, Carers UK is now extremely worried that many will simply be unable to cope.

Caring already comes with additional costs that can have a significant impact on carers’ finances, and Carers UK knows many carers suffer financial hardship as a direct result of the care they provide.

Last year carers said that they were already having to dip into their savings, use credit cards, and cut back on essentials to keep the person they care for warm and healthy. Our Under Pressure: Caring and the cost of living crisis briefing, published in March 2022 and based on a survey of over 3,300 carers, highlighted the increasing pressure on unpaid carers due to rising costs.

In October 2022, Carers UK published a new report Heading for Crisis: caught between caring and rising costs, based on a survey of over 13,000 unpaid carers.

  • 1 in 6 (16%) unpaid carers are in debt as a result of their caring role and their financial situation, increasing to 2 in 5 (40%) for unpaid carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.
  • The proportion of carers unable to afford their utility bills has more than doubled since last year – from 6% in 2021 to 14% in 2022.
  • Those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are also more likely to be cutting back on food and heating (35%) compared to all carers (25%). Nearly 8% of unpaid carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are using food banks to cope with the cost of living crisis, compared to 5% of all unpaid carers.
  • Carers who care for longer and provide more hours of care per week are more likely to be struggling financially. The proportion of people caring for over 5 years are almost twice as likely to be struggling to afford the cost of food (20%) and be in debt (19%) compared to people caring for less than 5 years (11% and 9% respectively).

To ensure carers are supported during this extremely difficult time, Carers UK is calling on the UK Government to immediately provide additional and targeted financial support for carers - particularly for those on the lowest incomes.

Read the full report here.

Source: Carers UK