Number of full-time unpaid carers hits 1m in England and Wales
ONS figures show 'growing army' caring for loved ones for free
Friday 15 February 2013
A “growing army” of more than one million people spend more than 50 hours a week providing free care for family or loved ones.
The figures released by the Office for National Statistics led to calls from unions and care groups for greater help for, and recognition of, carers, who are mainly women looking after elderly people.
The ONS said that 5.8 million people in England and Wales – one in ten – are providing unpaid care, a rise of 600,000 since 2001 and believed to be worth around £340 billion a year.
Of those around 3.7 million people provide free care for between one and 19 hours a week, 775,000 giving between 20 and 49 hours a week, and 1.4 million caring for more than 50 hours.
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said most of “Britain’s growing army of unpaid carers” are women.
"But unpaid care is still not given the recognition it deserves from either Government or employers,” she said.
"Far too many women are forced to trade down or even quit jobs when they take on caring responsibilities. Not enough employers truly embrace flexible working, despite the benefits it holds for staff and the business.”
Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK added that the government needed to invest more in care for the elderly.
“We need Government investment in all services, from childcare to elderly care,” she said. “Without this extra funding we will continue to see women drop out of the labour market to fill the gaps in care provision."
She added: "Too often the costs and pressures of caring for older or disabled loved ones can force families to give up work to care and lead to debt, poor health and isolation.
"Society needs to come to terms with this demographic shift. As caring for older or disabled loved ones becomes a fact of life for more and more families, services, communities and workplaces need to adapt to enable carers to care healthily, live their own lives and work alongside caring."
Life & Style blogs
Men in crop tops seem to be trending thanks to Kid Cudi, the social media and the catwalk
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Greggs Google fail: bakery chain falls afoul of search engine's algorithms with 'unofficial' logo
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Is this the end of apps? New research says a third of us don't bother to download
- 1 The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
- 4 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 5 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermeister and vodka
£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Principal Arboricu...
£17000 - £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Trainee Digital Fo...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - ASSET FINANCE - An outstanding...