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Unpaid carers in Wales worried about financial strain on top of continued reduced access to support.

02 November 2021
  • Carers spend an estimated £1,317,00 a year on average on services or equipment for the person they care for
  • A quarter (24%) of carers are worried they may not cope financially over the next 12 months
  • 36% of carers say their financial situation has deteriorated since the pandemic
  • Six in ten carers (59%) feel anxious or stressed about their finances

New research from the charity Carers Wales reveals that a quarter of unpaid carers in Wales (25%) are worried they may not cope financially over the next 12 months. This is on top of deep concern about practical support where just 12% of carers in Wales are confident they will get the practical support they need in the next 12 months.

A survey of over 700 people in Wales currently caring unpaid for family or friends, the majority of whom provide well over 50 hours of care every week, reveals the huge personal and financial cost of caring for a loved one. 25% of carers feel unable to manage their monthly expenses, leaving many carers worrying about how they will cope this winter as they face rising energy prices and increases in the cost of living.

As well as providing significant levels of care themselves, two-thirds (65%) of carers are also using their own income or savings to cover the cost of care, equipment or products for the person they care for. On average carers spend an estimated £1,317 a year on services or equipment for the person they care for.

The situation has deteriorated during the pandemic with 36% saying that their financial situation has worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and a quarter (26%) are spending more on equipment or products for the person they care for.

As a result, many are struggling financially and unable to save for their own retirement. More than seven in ten carers (71%) say they are worried about their ability to save and plan for the future. This immense financial strain is also damaging carers’ mental health with six in ten (59%) reporting they feel anxious or stressed about their finances.

Carers are still having to take on more hours of care for the person they care for, with 64% of carers having reduced or no access to day services and over a third of carers reporting reduced or no access to paid care workers.

Claire Morgan, Carers Wales Director, said:

“We are seeing unprecedented levels of stress where financial worry is piling yet more pressure on carers in Wales.  With low levels of services, carers in Wales are going to be facing an extremely difficult winter with the rising costs of living, increased energy prices, a social care staffing crisis and a chronically underfunded social care system.  

Carers have been propping up our health and care system for years at a huge cost to their own personal health, finances and ability to stay in work. Throughout the pandemic they carried a huge load, with 80% taking on more care for relatives and 72% unable to take any breaks at all from their caring role. Carers desperately need help to regain quality of life and enable them to continue caring. The Welsh Government must recognise the toll being placed on unpaid carers and ensure that social care reform delivers for carers.”

Carers Wales estimates the number of unpaid carers increased by 200,000 at the height of the pandemic to over 680,000 carers across the country. Unpaid carers saved the Welsh economy £12 billion per year during the pandemic[1].

Carers Wales is urging the Welsh Government to urgently put in place the financial and practical support that carers need. The Welsh Government must ensure wider awareness of carers rights in health and social care settings, ensure that local authorities adequately measure and understand carers needs and that they have sufficient funding to re-instate disrupted carer services as soon as possible.

- ENDS -


Notes to Editors:

Media contact

Please contact Carers Wales for more information or interviews on:

  • 029 2081 1370
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

About Carers UK’s State of Caring 2021 report

Carers UK carried out its annual online survey between August and September 2021. A total of 740 carers in Wales, who are currently providing care, responded. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey are more likely to be White British, female and caring for a high number of hours every week. As not all respondents completed every question in the survey, a number of figures given may be drawn from a sample size of fewer than 740

About Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for people providing at least 35 hours of unpaid care a week. Carer's Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind and is currently paid at £67.60 a week (2021-22). 

The earnings limit is currently £128 per week and if only £1 is exceeded, carers lose 100% of their benefit.  In 2018-19, a carer could work 15.3 hours per week at NLW rate and still retain Carer’s Allowance. With the NLW going up to £9.50 per hour from April 2022, this rate will have fallen to 13.47 hours maximum work per week.

 

About Carers Wales

Carers Wales is part of Carers UK. We are a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

For practical advice and information about caring, www.carerswales.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have developed specific information to support carers during the coronavirus pandemic. at: https://www.carersuk.org/coronavirus

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to carers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Carers can join the forum and Carers Wales at: www.carersuk.org/forum.

Website: www.carerswales.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarersWales

Twitter: @CarersWales

Carers Wales is part of Carers UK. Carers UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (246329) and In Scotland (SCO39307) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (864097).

 

What is a carer? 

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition or who needs extra help as they grow older. 

 

[1] Carers UK (2020) Undervalued and Underseen

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