Our Adult Carer Survey Report 2022: I feel like I've disappeared
An urgent call to action from the UK’s unpaid carers.
Findings from a Carers Trust survey of 2,675 unpaid carers from across the UK, published in November 2022, reveal how many are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship as a result of their caring role.
The research highlights starkly how unpaid carers have been pushed even further into financial misery by the cost-of-living crisis. Amongst a series of alarming findings, the survey found:
- One in seven (14%) unpaid carers have had to use a food bank.
- Almost two thirds (63%) of unpaid carers are worried about being able to afford energy bills.
- 25% of unpaid carers have had to cut back on food
- Almost two thirds (64%) of unpaid carers have either had to give up work altogether or reduce their paid hours because of their caring role.
- 29% have had to use a credit card to pay for essential household items.
- Carer’s Allowance recipients were more likely to be experiencing financial hardship than other unpaid carers.
- 26% of unpaid carers have had to borrow money from a friend or relative
“All general bills are a worry. It’s crushing to not even be able to afford the most basics in life due to being an unpaid carer.”
(Unpaid carer responding to the Carers Trust survey)
Carers Trust recommendations to the UK Government
Based on the survey findings, Carers Trust recommended that the UK Government:
- Urgently provides additional financial support to unpaid carers to help them cope with the costs of caring and with the cost-of-living crisis more generally.
- Commits to publishing a UK-wide strategy for unpaid carers by the end of 2023.
- Urgently develops a solution for the sustainable funding of adult social care so unpaid carers are properly supported and local carer services have adequate funding.
Responding to the findings of the survey, Carers Trust’s CEO Kirsty McHugh said:
“Our nation’s health and social care system relies on the hard work of millions of unpaid family carers. However, the double whammy of lack of financial support and struggling local services means that millions of unpaid family carers are being pushed into dire poverty.
“With little ability to work, unpaid carers simply cannot boost their earnings to meet the cost-of-living crisis. Yet they need to keep the heating on and equipment running to keep their sick and disabled relatives warm and safe. The recent Autumn Statement simply did not recognise the extra cost of being an unpaid carer. We therefore need to raise Carer’s Allowance urgently and to add it to the list of benefits qualifying for the additional £900 cost-of-living support payment.
“We also need Government to make good on its long-awaited promise to publish a proper strategy for unpaid carers. As a country we’re relying on unpaid carers to keep the health and care system afloat. The least we can do in return is ensure they get a fair deal in return”.
What we heard from unpaid carers
“I’m terrified that I won’t be able to pay the bills this winter.”
“It’s awful. I love my mum and will never stop caring for her, but that’s because if I leave, the council can’t provide the level of help she needs. It’s never a choice, no one choses this. It’s just something we have to do. I use the words ‘moral obligation’ a lot.”