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27 November, 2020 Open access

Unpaid carers have been providing care worth more than £500m every day of the COVID-19 outbreak, Carers UK estimates

New research warns that government must urgently improve support to address impact of caring on carers’ health, finances, and wellbeing during the pandemic

Unpaid carers have been providing care to the value of more than £500 million every day of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to new research from Carers UK.

In Unseen and Undervalued: the value of unpaid care provided to date during the COVID-19 pandemic, Carers UK examines the importance and economic value of unpaid care that family members and friends provide, estimating that unpaid carers have provided care worth £530 million every day over the last eight months saving the UK state a total of £135 billion.

Warning that the value of unpaid carers does not come without its own costs on them - with more than half (58 per cent) seeing their physical health impacted by caring through the pandemic and 64 per cent reporting a worsening of mental health - as well as on their families, employers, the NHS and social care, and society in general, Carer’s UK calls on the government to take immediate action to increase support by -

In addition, the charity calls for each of the UK’s national governments to develop their own ‘New Deal for Carers’ over the medium term, to incorporate measures including -

Commenting on the report's findings, Chief Executive of Carers UK Helen Walker said today -

‘With every day that this pandemic goes on, unpaid carers are being pushed to the limit providing ever more care for loved ones with fast-diminishing support. They say they feel completely overlooked, overwhelmed, and can’t go on like this.

Without crucial breaks services up and running this winter, we will only see more unpaid carers break down and an increase in hospital admissions at a time when the health system is already under significant pressure.

The Government has to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by carers during this pandemic - the value of which is a staggering £530 million every single day - and give back to carers by prioritising their health, wellbeing and resilience this winter.’

For more information, see Unpaid carers save UK state £530 million every day of the pandemic from carersuk.org