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  • More than a quarter of carers (28%) and 41% of carers on Carer’s Allowance are struggling to make ends meet
  • 44% of carers on Carer’s Allowance are cutting back on food and heating
  • One in six carers on Carer’s Allowance are visiting foodbanks

A new report published today by Carers Scotland lays bare the financial impact of caring and paints a bleak picture for Scotland’s 800,000 unpaid carers.

State of Caring in Scotland – The financial impact of caring in 2023’ which presents the results of a survey of over 1,770 unpaid carers shows that those who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, the main benefit for unpaid carers, have been hit particularly hard by rising prices and the cost-of-living crisis. Four in ten (41%) said that they were struggling to make ends meet and had to cut their expenses to the bone and were falling into debt and arrears as a result.

Even more concerningly, the number of unpaid carers on Carer’s Allowance cutting back on essentials continues to grow, more than doubling since 2021. Today, 44% of these carers are cutting back on food and heating versus 22% just two years ago. This has led to one in six (16%) carers on benefits being forced to visit foodbanks.  

Worryingly the level of rent or mortgage arrears has rocketed for all carers, with one in six (16%) struggling to meet these costs. With carers ability to increase their incomes restricted by their caring responsibilities, many carers reported fears of losing their homes.  

Richard Meade, Director of Carers Scotland said:

“This year’s State of Caring lays bare the devastating financial impact of caring in a cost-of-living crisis on Scotland’s 800,000 unpaid carers. 

“Carers have told us about the significant poverty they experience, with rising costs, limited incomes, and the impossible choices they face just to make ends meet.

“Substantial numbers of unpaid carers are floundering and can see no end to the current financial storm. Governments and public authorities must act now, not just to prevent further crisis, but to give unpaid carers any hope of a brighter future.”

Carers Scotland has produced a series of recommendations including urging that hardship funding should be made available this winter to help protect carers from poverty. The charity also urges the Scottish Government to move forward at pace with their introduction of the Carer Support Payment, which will replace Carer’s Allowance in Scotland. This will for the first time allow carers who are in full time education to receive the benefit, but a clear timeline needs to be laid out as to when more significant changes to the benefit will be introduced.


Media contacts

Please contact:

  • Richard Meade, Director, Carers Scotland Tel: 07368970219


  • Fiona Collie, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers Scotland Tel: 0141 445 3070 / 07967 826238


Alternatively, speak to Christine Robertson, Media and Communications Officer for Carers Scotland press office Tel: 07553 037992


Notes to Editor:

  1. These findings come from the first in a series of three reports produced by Carers Scotland, exploring key findings from their annual State of Caring Scotland survey, which was conducted between June and August this year and completed by 1,771 unpaid carers across the country.


  1. Carer’s Allowance is currently the main benefit for unpaid carers. It is worth just £76.75 a week for a minimum of 35 hours of carer per week. Carers in Scotland also receive a twice per year lump sum called Carer’s Allowance Supplement (worth £541 per annum. The qualifying rules are complex and only approximately 10% of unpaid carers receive this support.


  1. Carer’s Allowance will be replaced by Carer Support Payment in Scotland. The new benefit, administered by Social Security Scotland, will be piloted from 19 November 2023 in Dundee, the Western Isles and Perth. From Spring 2024 more areas will be added in a similar way as they were for the introduction of the two disability benefits. On 1 October, it will be available across Scotland to new claims with work underway in early 2024 to transfer all existing claimants of Carer’s Allowance from the DWP onto this new benefit. Until this process is complete no further changes can be made.

  2. Nearly 1 in 7 people in Scotland are unpaid carers, saving the Scottish economy an astonishing £13.1 billion every year[1],





[1] National Care Service Bill, Financial Memorandum

Find out more about the report and download it in full here.

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