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General Election 2024: Improving the lives of unpaid carers

On Thursday 4 July the country heads to the polls to elect the next government of the UK.

Ahead of the election The Carers’ Centre is calling on the next government to understand the economic and social pressures facing carers, and to take action to improve their lives over the coming years. 

The 2021 census identified 19,600 carers in Bath and North East Somerset alone. The Carers’ Centre believe this is an underestimate as many don’t see themselves as carers; they’re simply helping or doing what any son, daughter, wife, husband or parent would do.

CEO of The Carers’ Centre, Jacqui Orchard said:

“Carers play a vital role not just to those they are caring for, but also to society. Many of the carers we support speak of the financial and emotional cost caring can take on a person and their family. The cost-of-living crisis has only served to make their situation even more difficult.”

The Carers’ Centre is joining the Carers Trust to call on the next UK government to transform the lives of carers through the following steps: 

Stop pushing carers to the limit

Commit to funding the local community support services needed to protect carers from excessive caring demands.

End carer poverty - No carer should live in poverty

The benefits system needs to be overhauled so carers receive better financial support. Carers need help to find and stay in work when they want to work. They also need access to state-funded small grants in difficult times.

Commit to fair futures for young carers

Young carers’ education must be protected. Dedicated funding and wider resources are needed so young carers are supported to balance their caring roles alongside their education.

The Carers Trust has also produced a guide on how to write to the candidates standing in your area, telling them why carers are at the heart of their constituency.

The State of Caring Report 2023(1) highlights that:

  • 60% of unpaid carers are managing their own health condition alongside their caring role.
  • 68% of carers living with mental health challenges report living in a constant fear.
  • 29% of all carers feel lonely and isolated, many are suffering from financial hardship. 
  • 46% cutting back on essential items like food and heating.  

The population of people needing a carer is set to rise to 208,000 by 2028 - the most significant growth will be amongst older people. Within the 65+ group, the largest increase is projected to be in the 75-84 age range (33%), followed by the 85+ age group (20%). Many of these people will be supported by unpaid carers. 

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The Carers' Centre

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