The national charity Carers UK has handed a letter to the new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, pressing him to address the increasing impact of the cost-of-living crisis on unpaid carers.
The letter is signed by 72 organisations, including Age UK, Mencap, and MS Society, and outlines the tremendous financial difficulties experienced by family members who provide 24-hour care for elderly, handicapped, or gravely ill relatives.
Due to their restricted ability to produce an income, unpaid caregivers are particularly susceptible to a variety of mounting costs.
Certain expenses, like heating and medical equipment, cannot be reduced without jeopardising the safety of the individual being cared for.
As soon as possible, the coalition of organisations is also requesting that Carer’s Allowance and Carer Element be increased in accordance with current levels of inflation so that low-income caregivers can pay their bills.
Greater assistance for unpaid caregivers is supported by an overwhelming majority of the general population. 69% concur that the job of unpaid caregivers is undervalued, and 84% concur that the government should provide unpaid caregivers with greater help.
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, said: “Thousands of unpaid carers who do so much to support people in our communities are now facing an unprecedented emergency and urgently need the Chancellor’s help.
“While we welcome the Government’s announcement of an annual £2,500 energy price cap, this will still be a significant price hike for many.
“Some carers have no way of meeting the rising costs and face extremely difficult decisions that are keeping them up at night.
“We are urging the Chancellor to provide unpaid carers with targeted support, giving those with an entitlement to Carer’s Allowance or the Carer Element of Universal Credit a top up payment to help them meet the significant additional costs they’ll face throughout the winter.”
The letter was also signed by Rethink Mental Illness, The Patient Association, and the Carers Trust.