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The Department for Communities has published its draft budget for 2024-25, [1] with no funding allocated to uplift or reform Carer’s Allowance in Northern Ireland. That is despite 46% of local claimants living in poverty [2] and 1 in 7 using food banks. [3]

Responding to the draft budget, Angela Phillips, Senior Policy Officer at Carers NI, said:

It is extremely disappointing, during Carers Week, to see that funding has not been allocated to deliver much-needed reform to the Carer’s Allowance system in Northern Ireland. Nearly half of local Carer’s Allowance recipients live in poverty and many are forced to make desperate decisions to get through the financial strain that defines their lives. Unpaid carers save Stormont billions of pounds every year and deserve better than a welfare benefit that forces them to skip meals and sit in the dark to make it through the week. We would urge the Minister to reconsider, legislate for a Carer’s Allowance Supplement payment and lift thousands of carers in NI out of poverty.”


Notes to editors

  1. DfC 2024-25 budget.
  2. Carer Poverty Commission (2023). Policy measures to tackle poverty among unpaid carers in Northern Ireland.
  3. Carers NI (2023). State of Caring: The impact of unpaid caring on finances in Northern Ireland.
  4. Carer’s Allowance is the main welfare benefit for unpaid carers in Northern Ireland. It is provided to those who care for a sick or disabled family member or friend for a minimum of 35 hours per week. The benefit is worth £81.90 per week and is paid at that flat rate regardless of how many additional hours of caring a person performs or how many people they are caring for at the same time.
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