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Carers UK responds to ONS data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on unpaid carers

11 June 2021

New data issued by the ONS today (Friday 11th June 2021) during Carers Week shows that carers have been more greatly affected by the pandemic compared with the general public.

Compared to non-carers, more carers say the following aspects of their lives have been affected:

  • their work is affected (30% compared to 26%),
  • life events (44% compared to 40%),
  • household finances (18% compared to 15%),
  • access to groceries, medication and essentials (15% of carers compared to 10% for non-carers). 

Most stark is the impact on unpaid carers’ access to healthcare and treatment for non-COVID-19 issues – 30% of carers said this was impacted compared to 20% of non-carers.

Carers were also more likely to have met someone in a support bubble – 31% of carers did this compared to 20% of non-carers. This shows how important this measure, which was only introduced for carers of adults towards the end of last year, has been.

The ONS survey was carried out between 31 March 2021 and 21 April 2021 when the “rule of 6” outside was in place in England and “stay local” restrictions were in place in other nations.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“This study underlines what carers have been telling us all along - that the impact of the pandemic has had a far greater impact on unpaid carers and particularly people providing significant amounts of care. 

“It has affected their health, wellbeing, relationships, work, finances and more. It is good to see that some of the measures put in place by Government during the pandemic, like support bubbles, have been used by carers but there are areas that still need urgently addressing. Earlier this week, we released new research showing 72% of carers have not had a break at all during the pandemic.  

“Now that the impacts are becoming ever clearer, it’s important that there is a recovery plan in place that ensures we build back better for carers. They urgently need additional support to get breaks, help with finances and they need confidence that they will be put at the heart of social care reform that will make a material difference to their lives.

“This is a very timely release given that ‘building back better’ will be under discussion between global leaders at the G7 this weekend. It is not just unpaid carers in the UK who have been impacted, but carers across the globe.”

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