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Carers Trust responds to census data showing increase in intensity of care provided by unpaid carers

Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data from the 2021 census on health, disability, and unpaid care in England and Wales.

Responding to the census data on unpaid carers, Carers Trust's CEO, Kirsty McHugh, said: 

"The census data on unpaid carers released today provides a complex picture but what comes through loud and clear is that the proportion of unpaid carers providing 20 hours’ care a week or more has increased noticeably. This resonates with what we are consistently hearing about many unpaid carers having to dedicate ever more time to caring for their sick and disabled relatives, not least due to increased pressures on the NHS and the collapse of social care services.

"We need to be careful when considering the overall reported decline in the number of unpaid carers. As the ONS rightly points out, people were responding to the census in the middle of a pandemic. We know many unpaid carers were unable to visit the homes of those they were caring for, so may not have identified as unpaid carers. Others may recently have stopped providing care for elderly relatives who had died of COVID-19.

"What is clear is that the Government must acknowledge its obligation to the census’s estimated 5 million unpaid carers, many of whom are struggling to cope with increased caring hours as a result of the fallout of a social care crisis that is not of their making. They need immediate Government support now in the form of more funded respite breaks, expanded Government support for the local carer organisations supporting them and a national strategy for unpaid carers. Carers Trust stands ready to support such a strategy by providing a comprehensive picture of the enormous challenges that millions of unpaid carers and local carer organisations are facing and the solutions that we know can make all the difference."

For further information and to arrange interviews with spokespeople contact: 

Mark Chandler at mchandler@carers.org or 07712 427808

About Carers Trust

Carers Trust is the UK charity working to transform the lives of unpaid carers across the UK. It partners with its network of local carer organisations to provide funding and support, deliver innovative and evidence-based programmes and raise awareness and influence policy.​ In 2021/22 Carers Trust supported 917,000 unpaid carers across the UK.


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