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Carers First, along with 130 other members of the Carer Poverty Coalition, have launched a joint manifesto calling on all political parties to commit to taking action to end poverty amongst unpaid carers, ahead of an upcoming General Election.  

The manifesto, released today, Thursday, 21 March 2024, addresses the pressing issue of poverty among carers. The Carer Poverty Coalition, initiated by Carers UK in February 2023 now encompasses more than 130 national and local organisations dedicated to combating carer poverty. 

One of the primary goals of the coalition is to advocate for reforms within the benefits system, aiming to provide better financial support for carers both in the short and long term. Additionally, the manifesto emphasises the need for improved systems that enable carers to maintain paid employment while fulfilling their caring responsibilities. 

Every day across the UK, the invaluable work of unpaid carers plays a crucial role in upholding society, with approximately 10.6 million individuals providing care for those who need it most. The value of this unpaid care provided by carers has been estimated at £162 billion per year in England and Wales, and £5.8 billion per year in Northern Ireland. 

However, the act of providing care to family and friends often comes at a significant cost to carers themselves. It frequently limits their earning potential and incurs additional expenses that they wouldn't otherwise face. Consequently, many unpaid carers find themselves in poverty or in precarious financial situations. This is particularly true for those who provide intensive care or continue their caring duties over extended periods. 

The financial challenges experienced by carers also have a profound impact on their physical and mental well-being, often exacerbating their own need for treatment, support, and services to help them cope with the demands of caring. 

By raising awareness of carer poverty and highlighting the ongoing impact of the cost of living crisis on unpaid carers, the Carer Poverty Coalition seeks to engage with the government, parliamentarians, decision-makers, and the public at large ahead of the 2024 General Election in May 2024. Through these efforts, they aim to drive positive changes that alleviate the financial burdens faced by carers and ensure their contributions are properly recognised and supported. 

For further information on the Carer Poverty Coalition and a full list of members on Carers UK’s website.  

Find out more about the manifesto

Carers UK Statistics

  • Unpaid carers experience an average pay penalty of nearly £5000, reaching nearly £8,000 per year after six years of providing unpaid care. 
  • 28% of carers live in poverty, compared to 20% for those without a caring role. 
  • 44% of working aged adults who are providing unpaid care for more than 35 hours a week are in poverty. Significantly, this is the qualifying number of hours of unpaid care for a range of carers’ benefits, including Carers Allowance. 

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