William Eichler 17 June 2020

Unpaid carers ‘pushed’ into using food banks

Unpaid carers ‘pushed’ into using food banks image

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

Research by Carers UK found 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 charity, which is drawing on research carried out by the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham, also said that almost 229,000 unpaid carers 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, according to Carers UK. This affected 55,153 (12.2%) of those aged 17-30, compared with 9,294 (0.7%) carers aged 66 or older.

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

‘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.’

The researchers estimate that 10,991,440 adults in the UK are carers. Of these, an estimated 6,048,286 provide care outside the household.

The power of local systems to save lives image

The power of local systems to save lives

Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
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