Family Rights Group joins Carer Poverty Coalition
Published: 15th February 2023
3 minute read
Today, Family Rights Group has become a founding member of the Carer Poverty Coalition.
Collectively, the Coalition of 93 national and local organisations is campaigning to:
- End poverty amongst carers by advocating for policy change that adequately values, recognises and supports unpaid carers
- Reform the benefits system to better support carers financially in the short and long term
- Bring in better systems to support carers to continue with paid work
- Build awareness of carer poverty and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on unpaid carers with Government, parliamentarians, decision makers and the general public
Every day across the UK, the work of unpaid carers helps hold society together – an invisible network of support, empathy and care for those who need it most.
However, providing care to family and friends limits their ability to earn a full income adds extra costs that they would not otherwise have. Too often, due to a lack of recognition and support, unpaid carers end up falling into poverty or find themselves in precarious financial positions as a result of their caring role. This is particularly true of carers who care for more than 35 hours a week and those who provide unpaid care over longer periods of time. Financial difficulties also have a significant impact on carers’ physical and mental health and often increase their own need for treatment, support and services in order to cope.
Many kinship carers who Family Rights Group works to support, raising children who would otherwise be in the care system, face financial hardship as a result of stepping in to provide the children with a loving home. Alongside raising the children, many also have caring responsibilities for other family members.
There is a clear moral as well as economic argument for supporting unpaid carers to live on a decent level of income and for supporting those able to continue with paid work whilst caring. Better support for carers to stay in work has clear benefits to the wider economy by improving productivity and reducing unemployment. The value of unpaid care was estimated at £530 million per day and £193 billion per year during the pandemic.
This is a huge contribution to the NHS, social care and to society. Unpaid carers also provide a vital human connection as well as physical and emotional nourishment needed for our older people to thrive and enable people with disabilities and long-term illnesses to lead dignified, independent lives.