Unpaid carers twice as likely to use food banks

Unpaid carers are twice as likely as the general public to have relied on a food bank during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

The research, carried out by the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham for the charity Carers UK, reveals that 106,000 adults in the UK currently caring for someone outside of their household who is older, disabled or seriously ill, have used a foodbank.

The analysis also reveals that, among this group of unpaid carers,, almost 229,000 have had someone in their household go hungry during lockdown.

Younger carers were more likely to live in a household with someone who experienced hunger; this affected 55,153 (12.2%) of those aged 17-30, compared with 9,294 (0.7%) carers aged 66 or older.

Research carried out by Carers UK in April showed that 70% of people caring for more than 50 hours a week are providing even more care during the pandemic, and more than half (55%) told the charity they feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities and are worried about the weeks ahead.

More than three quarters (81%) of carers said they had to spend more money on necessities such as food and household bills.

‘This pandemic is pushing unpaid carers to breaking point physically and mentally,’ said Carers UK chief executive, Helen Walker.

‘The fact that carers are also twice as likely as the average person to be relying on foodbanks demonstrates just how difficult life is for them right now. It is simply unacceptable that carers are having to go hungry because they do not have support.

‘Surely, when the majority of carers are providing even more care for relatives during this pandemic, and spending more to do so, they deserve some help? The government must acknowledge the impact the pandemic is having on carers’ finances and job prospects and raise Carer’s Allowance as a matter of urgency.’

Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)

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