Skip to the content
Choose your content
UK NI Scotland Wales

Join us Login Forum Media enquiries
Choose your content
UK NI Scotland Wales

Prime Minister 
10 Downing Street 
London SW1A 2AA 

Dear [future] Prime Minister, 

Across the UK, 5.7 million people provide unpaid care for a family member, friend, or neighbour who is affected by long-term illness, disability, or old age. Thousands of us take on new caring responsibilities every day – it can happen unexpectedly, or gradually, but almost all of us will experience care at some point in our lives. 

Over the last 10 years, the amount of unpaid care being provided has increased significantly, with over one and a half million people in England and Wales now caring for over 50 hours every week. As a result, the value of unpaid carers’ support is now worth a staggering £162 billion a year – equivalent to spending on the NHS – without which our health and care systems would simply collapse.  

The unpaid care we provide daily has a profound and positive impact on the individuals we care for. Yet, despite our huge contribution, far too many of us do not feel recognised or supported and, too often, caring comes at a significant personal cost – drastically affecting our finances, mental and physical health, ability to work, and to live full and social lives.  

The widespread lack of formal support from health and social care and the ongoing cost of living crisis have left many of us extremely concerned about the future and unsure how we will cope. While many of us are simply not able to combine paid work with our caring responsibilities, more support is needed for those of us that can, or who are thinking of returning to work when our caring responsibilities come to an end. 

Your government now has a once in a generation opportunity to transform the lives of millions of people and ensure that every unpaid carer has the financial, practical and workplace support we need. Supporting us to continue providing care to those we love, protecting our health and wellbeing, and enabling us to participate in everyday life through work, education and leisure, is beneficial to wider society and the economy, strengthens and supports families, and is in everyone’s best interest. 

We urge you to act decisively to provide the structures, mechanisms and legislative basis for real and lasting change to improve unpaid carers’ lives. 

Below are our priorities for the coming Parliament – together, they provide a blueprint for your government to take significant steps over the next five years towards the UK being a society that recognises, values and supports unpaid carers: 

  1. Reform and significantly increase Carer’s Allowance and other social security payments for carers. 
  2. Deliver an ambitious and fully funded National Carers Strategy. 
  3. Invest in breaks, respite services, and introduce new legislation so all carers have the right to regular and meaningful breaks. 
  4. Make the NHS the most carer-friendly health service in the world. 
  5. Introduce a right to paid Carer’s Leave for working carers. 
  6. Recognise caring as the 10th protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. 
  7. Invest in social care services so no one has to care alone, and so Local Authorities are able to meet their existing duties to unpaid carers. 
  8. Provide more support to help carers manage their health and wellbeing. 

Without a step change in the support we receive, even more of us will reach breaking point, with huge implications for ourselves as unpaid carers, the people we care for, the NHS, social care and society as a whole. 

There is no time to waste.


Back to top