Carers Trust responds to ONS survey findings on cost of living crisis

Woman reading a letter

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today published figures from its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. The survey covers the period 19 to 30 January.

Among wider findings, the survey found:

Unpaid carers are still worried about Coronavirus, with many unable to resume previous “normal” life or things they’d enjoyed, due to concerns about infecting people they care for.

Unpaid carers are likely to be facing starker issues around cost of food, fuel and power. Carers may need to buy special or particular foods for the person they care for, to heat their homes more if the person they care for is unwell or less able to move around, and to run a car to take people to hospital or provide accessible activities.

Household Finances and cost of living (col)

  • 69% of respondents reported their cost of living had increased (66% in the previous period; 62% when the ONS first asked this in the period 3 to 14 November 2021).
  • This proportion has been consistently lower among younger adults.
  • In the latest period, around 4 in 10 (38%) of those aged 16 to 29 years reported this compared with almost three quarters (73%) of those aged 30 to 49 years and 8 in 10 (80%) of those aged 50 to 69 years or 70 years and above.
  • The most common reasons reported by adults who said their cost of living had increased were: 
    • price of food shopping (89%; 87% in the previous period, January 6 to 16 2021)
    • gas or electricity bills (80%; 79% in the previous period) 
    • price of fuel (68%; 71% in the previous period).

Responding to the ONS Survey findings, Carers Trust’s Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs, Joe Levenson, said:
“These ONS findings show how the cost of living crisis is beginning to really hit home. But if you’re one of the millions of unpaid family carers who’d had to give up work long ago to provide round-the-clock specialist care for a family member, then it’s more than likely you were already really struggling just to make ends meet. So for many of them, soaring food and energy bills are a hammer blow on already stretched household finances.

“Many unpaid carers have to get by on Carer’s Allowance of just £67.60 a week despite the fact that, without their tireless work to carry on caring in the community, our health and social care systems simply couldn’t function.

“This latest crisis underlines yet again just how urgent it is for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to boost support immediately for unpaid family carers so they can continue to care for relatives in the home and prevent our health and social care services from collapsing under a tidal wave of demand.”

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Topics

Coronavirus / UK

 

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