Flickr account for Carers Network

Carers provide the majority of care and support that is needed to help people remain independent in our communities. The economic value of carers is estimated to be £119; that’s equal to the whole NHS put together.

With appropriate support, caring has the potential to be rewarding and life enriching. However, the facts are that the reward for the contribution of carers to our society is often poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and ill-health.

In Westminster, an estimated 7.5% of Westminster residents, provide a caring role to a partner, child, family member or friend. (2011 Census). Around 2,000 carers in Westminster are known to voluntary sector organisations and Social Services.

How many

  • There are around 5.8 million providing carer in England and Wales in 2011, representing just over on tenth of the population
  • One in eight adults in the UK (six and a half million people) are carers
  • Every day over 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people each year
  • 42% of carers are men and 58% are women
  • Between 2001 – 2011 the number of unpaid carers has grown by 600,000; that’s faster than the pace of population growth

How long

  • 1.3 million carers look after someone for over 50 hours per week


  • 4 million carers are of working age
  • 3 million carers are combining work with care
  • 2.3 million have given up work to care
  • 3 million people in the UK combine work with caring, roughly one in eight workers


  • People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled
  • Those caring over 50 hours a week are twice as likely to be in bad health as the non caring population
  • The longer a person’s caring role lasts, the more significant are the health implications – both mental and physical

Research published by Carers UK found that 52% of respondents providing substantial amounts of care had been treated for a stress-related disorder. Low income and too few breaks are the most significant causes of ill-health in carers.


  • Carers save the economy £119 billion per year, an average of £18,473 per carer
  • Full-time carers get less than £60 per week Carers Allowance
  • 60% of carers missed out on benefits for over 2 years because they did not know they were entitled to them
  • The main carer’s benefit is £58.45 for a minimum of 35 hours, equivalent to £1.67 per hour – far short of the national minimum wage of £6.08 per hour (2012-2013 figures).


For information on in-depth research into carers, their experience, their value to society and their support needs, go to Carers UK