Big Issue Vendor

Carers Rights Day: Unpaid carers ‘save UK £530 million every day of pandemic’

Carers Rights Day raises awareness of the work done by unpaid carers and helps those providing care find support
Image: Matthias Zomer / Pexels

Unpaid carers looking after loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic are saving the taxpayer £530 million per day, according to new research by Carers UK.

The new study, released on Carers Rights Day, revealed care provided by unpaid carers was valued at £135 billion for the eight months of the pandemic so far as people took on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and need support.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “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.”

Carers Rights Day aims to raise awareness of the work done by unpaid carers and help those providing care understand their rights and know where to find support. 

Carers UK is now calling on ministers to “recognise the contribution of millions of carers” and “protect their health and wellbeing” during the crisis. 

The charity has urged the Government to increase the income of carers entitled to Carer’s Allowance, saying an extra £20 a week is needed to match the increase made to Universal Credit.  

Previous research by the charity found 81 per cent of carers have been taking on more care since the start of the pandemic, with nearly two-thirds worried about how they will manage over the coming winter. 

Walker added ministers “urgently” needed to review carers’ breaks services and increase investment so carers could take a break. 

“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,” she added. 

“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.”

Big Issue vendors need your help now more than ever. More than 1,000 vendors are out of work because of the second lockdown in England. They can’t sell the magazine and they can’t rely on the income they need.

The Big Issue is helping our vendors with supermarket vouchers and gift payments but we need your help to do that.

Please buy this week’s magazine from the online shop or take out a subscription to make sure we can continue to support our vendors over this difficult period. You can even link your subscription to your local vendor with our new online map.

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support.