We have joined a coalition of almost 100 charities and organisations calling for better financial support for unpaid family and friend carers across the UK and changes to help people with caring responsibilities work if they want to.
The Carer Poverty Coalition has been set up to call for the government to have a benefits system that better supports people looking after someone close to them who needs help due to an illness, disability, old age or an addiction. It will also raise awareness about the negative impact the cost of living crisis is having on carers.
Research carried out in 2022 by Carers UK, the national charity supporting carers and leading the campaign, found that one in four carers (25%) were cutting back on food or heating to make ends meet. The figure increased to 35% for people receiving Carer’s Allowance – the main benefit for those caring 35 hours or more each week.
The coalition will build on campaigning already done by Carers UK and organisations like ourselves over the last couple of years calling for the government to:
• Increase the amount people eligible for Carer’s Allowance can earn a week before the benefit is reduced or stopped. The proposal is £199.50 a week for 2022/2023 (equivalent to 21 hours work at National Living Wage) instead of the current £132 or less (after tax, expenses and other deductions).
• Raise all benefits in line with current levels of inflation.
• Give unpaid carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance a top up payment to support them through the winter.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “Too often, due to a lack of recognition and support, unpaid carers end up falling into poverty or find themselves in precarious financial positions as a direct result of their caring role. As a coalition, we believe carers deserve better. There is a clear moral as well as economic argument for supporting unpaid carers to live on a decent income and for supporting those able to continue with paid work whilst caring to stay in work. We hope Government and policy makers will see this too.”
To find out more about Carer’s Allowance visit www.gov.uk/carers-allowance or call the government Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297.
You can find out more about the Carer Poverty Coalition at www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/carer-poverty-coalition