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New research published today (31 January) by Deloitte shows that addressing the cost of living crisis is the top priority the Northern Ireland public has identified for the Stormont Assembly. [1]

Responding to the research, Craig Harrison, Public Affairs Manager for Carers NI, said:

Many people in Northern Ireland have been hammered by the cost of living crisis and this is especially true of those providing unpaid care for sick or disabled family members and friends. Our unpaid carers were living with above-average food and energy bills even before prices began to sky-rocket and going years with no government to help them has taken its toll. More than one in four local carers are living in poverty [2] and over 20% are struggling to afford to eat. [3] In 2022 the Department for Communities commissioned an independent review of the benefits system [4] and the recommendations from that review must be a priority for the incoming Executive. Delivering the reforms to Carer’s Allowance that were outlined in the review would immediately lift thousands of unpaid carers here out of poverty and stop them having to cut back on essentials and take on debt to get by. We have lost a lot of ground over the last two years but the restoration of the Stormont institutions will give carers hope that desperately-needed financial help could be on its way.”


Notes to editors

  1. In Deloitte’s State of the State NI report, 83% of people in Northern Ireland chose the cost of living crisis when asked ‘which of the following issues do you think should be the top priorities for improvement over the next few years.
  2. Carer Poverty Commission (2023). Policy measures to tackle poverty among unpaid carers in Northern Ireland.
  3. Carers NI (2023). State of Caring 2023: The impact of caring on finances in Northern Ireland.
  4. Welfare Mitigations Review (2022). Independent Advisory Panel report.
  5. The welfare mitigations review recommended increasing the value of Carer’s Allowance by over £500 per year. The research from the Carer Poverty Commission referenced above shows that this policy would immediately lift 3,400 carers in Northern Ireland out of poverty and an additional 2,500 carers out of deep poverty (where their household income is 50% below the poverty line).
  6. Carers NI is Northern Ireland’s membership charity for unpaid carers. We work to represent and support the over 220,000 people in Northern Ireland who provide unpaid care for ill, older or disabled family members or friends – fighting for increased recognition and support for all carers and to ensure they have a voice in policymaking.
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