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10-16 June 2024

Millions of unpaid carers across the UK provide support to a family member, friend or neighbour due to a disability, illness or frailty due to old age. Yet a majority of unpaid carers have no choice but to take on a caring role. While providing unpaid care can be rewarding, it also comes with significant negative impacts on carers’ lives.

The No choice but to care report, published on the first day of Carers Week 2024 found that:

  • 62% of those who are currently providing or those who have previously provided unpaid care said that they had no choice in taking on the role because no other care options were available – this is around 10 million people. [1]
  • The impact of caring has been more negative than positive for all areas current and former unpaid carers were asked about, particularly for mental health (63%), physical health (53%), Job and ability to work (48%) and finances and savings (47%).
  • The negative impacts as a result of caring were also felt most strongly by those who had no choice but to take on an unpaid caring role as well as women and those aged 45-54.
  • The research also found that 73% of members of the public surveyed for the research think that unpaid carers should receive more support from the next Government, particularly financial support and investment in social care.

The report recommends the establishment of a National Carers Strategy, review and reform of social security benefits for carers and better workplace protections and workplace support for unpaid carers. To ensure carers’ health and wellbeing is better supported, the report recommends a new duty on the NHS to have regard to unpaid carers as well as further investment in social care and carers’ breaks. The report also makes recommendations aimed at employers, public bodies and specific recommendations for the UK nations.

Read the report in full here


1. Carers UK estimate using ONS population data and YouGov polling.

No choice but to care report available to download

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