‘Thousands pushed into poverty’: A quarter of carers relying on food banks

Sunak grilled on lack of help for carers and people with disabilities

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That’s despite the fact that, in the past two years, the care and support provided by unpaid carers has saved the UK economy £193billion. Charities are calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to increase Carer’s Allowance before things get much worse.

Gary cares for his wife Natasha following her spinal injury, which meant he had to give up work as a taxi driver.

He said: “We rely on Universal Credit and we’ve had to use foodbanks.”


He continued: “I’ve noticed our food and energy bills rising sharply.

“Natasha’s medical condition means that our home must be kept warm.

“If it isn’t, she suffers pain in her legs and feet.

“I’m worried I will have to go back to work if I cannot make ends meet, even though my wife needs a lot of care.”

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Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said carers receiving Carer’s Allowance or the Carer Element of Universal Credit were often under more financial pressure.

She said: “Many are dipping into savings, using credit cards, being pushed into debt and cutting back on essentials to keep the person they care for warm and healthy.

“They are extremely anxious about how they are going to continue to manage.

“Nearly half of carers think the rising energy costs will impact on their health and the health of the person they care for.”

The survey questioned more than 3,000 carers and discovered:

  • Three quarters (75 percent) were worried that the increases in energy bills will lead to significant financial hardship
  • Almost a quarter (24 percent) are already using foodbanks to help them manage their finances
  • Nearly two thirds (64 percent) are cutting back on heating and a third (33 percent) have already fallen into arrears
  • Over half (55 percent) are worried that increasing energy bills will mean they have to cut back on food.

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Meanwhile, almost half a million carers are missing out on £302 a month in Carer’s Allowance because they don’t know they are eligible.

To qualify, people need to care for someone for at least 35 hours a week.

People could be entitled to Carer’s Allowance if they are working, but they can’t be earning more than £132 a week.

The individual they are caring for also needs to be claiming certain state benefits for the carer to qualify.

To apply and find out more Britons are advised to go to Gov.uk.

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