There are about 6m unpaid carers in the UK, of whom 883,000 receive about £2bn a year in support – in benefits and employment support – from the government. But they contribute the equivalent of £23bn in unpaid caring to society, according to a new NAO study.
Although the new study gives the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) credit for running the support services efficiently and equitably for those who get support, it also points out that DWP has no idea how many people who are entitled to support do not claim. A survey of users also found that one in five experienced difficulties using the system.
Given the level of support that carers give to the most vulnerable in our community, isn’t it something of a disgrace that the department concerned seems to have no strategy for, or knowledge about, making sure those who are entitled to support actually get it?
see also The Geography of Unpaid Caring in England & Wales by Kingsley Purdam and Paul Norman, Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, University of Manchester.