- A report by Opinium found that 65 percent of family caregivers are out of work
More than a third of workers caring for a family member will be forced to leave their job or reduce their hours over the next year, at a cost of £6bn to taxpayers, a report warns.
The groundbreaking survey found that up to 41 percent of working-age caregivers are considering leaving the workplace or reducing their hours to care for their family member.
An exodus of family carers from the workforce would cost the Treasury up to £6.2 billion in lost tax and extra benefit payments in 2024, the report said.
Almost 400,000 people left their workplace between 2021 and 2022 to care for a family member, having not been able to balance demands with work.
An exodus of family carers from the workforce would cost the Treasury up to £6.2bn in lost tax and extra benefit payments in 2024 (File image)
The report, titled ‘Creating a Britain that works and cares’, comes against a backdrop of crisis in social care (file image)
The report, from the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), warned that government targets to reduce economic inactivity would stall without better support for family carers. It would also add more pressure to an already overburdened welfare system, he said.
In addition to the report, a survey conducted with Opinium found that 65 percent of family caregivers are unemployed and almost 64 percent of part-time workers would return to the workplace or increase their work hours with the “right support” . .
Their responses led the CSJ to make a series of recommendations to ease the burden on family caregivers.
The policies included the delivery of ten hours of free home care, £2,000 in free adaptations to make homes more accessible and an increase in the income threshold for carer’s allowance, from £139 to £250 a week.
Almost 400,000 people left their workplace between 2021 and 2022 to care for a family member, having not been able to balance demands with work (File image)
The report’s recommendations were praised by leading charities (File image)
Cristina Odone, head of the CSJ’s family policy unit, said: “No one should have to sacrifice their own well-being because they are caring for a member of their family.”
However, by forcing family carers to choose between keeping a job and their caring responsibilities, this is precisely what our current social care system is doing.’
Family carers provide an estimated £162 billion worth of unpaid care each year, far more than the £26.9 billion contributed by taxpayers.
The report, titled ‘Creating a Britain that works and cares’, comes against a backdrop of a crisis in social care.
Skills for Care, the body that collects data on England’s social care workforce, reported 152,000 vacancies in its October 2023 update.
There is uncertainty around the number of family carers: previous NHS surveys have found that councils in England know 320,000 adult carers, while the 2021 census indicated there were five million adult carers in total in England.
The report’s recommendations were praised by leading charities.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “These findings are a wake-up call for policymakers to stop taking unpaid carers for granted and give them the support they need.”
A government spokesperson said: ‘This year we have allocated £327 million through our Better Care Fund to provide carers with advice and support, as well as short breaks and respite services.
“Under the Caregiver Leave Act, eligible employees will be entitled to one week of unpaid leave per year.
“We are also introducing changes to flexible working legislation, which can provide people, including carers, with better access to flexible working arrangements.”