New State of Caring 2021 report launched today by Carers UK

Hello everyone

Please see below an announcement from Carers UK’s Policy and Public Affairs team for users of our Forum on our new State of Caring report.


This morning Carers UK launched our State of Caring 2021 report, which you can view and download here:

We are delighted that the survey the report is based upon was completed by over 8,500 current and former carers, making it the largest and most comprehensive survey of unpaid carers in the UK. Thank you to each and every person who has taken the time to complete the survey - together you have helped us to paint a picture of what caring has been like in the last year.

As you may expect, the report’s findings paint a worrying picture for unpaid carers this winter, with services still operating at reduced levels and worries about the increasing cost of living on already stretched finances.

We already knew that many services in the UK that carers rely on were near crisis point before the pandemic, with unpaid carers facing the consequences of local cuts to budgets through reduced support. Our new report again confirms that this situation has significantly worsened during the pandemic, with many carers forced to take on more hours of care due to having reduced or no access to vital services. Indeed, 55% of carers still have reduced or no access to day services and third have reduced or no access to paid care workers. Many are also now extremely worried about the increasing staffing crisis in social care preventing them from accessing the support they need.

Carers’ finances have also been hit particularly hard. Over a third (36%) of carers say their financial situation has worsened since the start of the pandemic and, worryingly, 23% of carers already feel they cannot manage their monthly expenses. Alongside rising energy bills across the country, many carers are worried about how they will cope with increasing costs. The impact of the increased amount of care and the stress and anxiety of the pandemic has also taken a clear toll on carers – our findings show a quarter of carers rate their physical health as bad or very bad and 30% rate their mental health as bad or very bad.

Without the right interventions, the stress and challenges during this time could lead to carer breakdown, with negative impacts on the carer and people needing care lasting long beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government’s social care reforms, to be set out in a forthcoming White Paper later this year, must deliver for carers, and ensure there is sufficient funding this winter and beyond to provide the supply of services needed and increase funding so all carers can access the breaks they need.

If you have any questions about the report, please contact

Thanks Michael, it confirms everything we knew already.

What is CUK going to do next, as far as campaigning is concerned, especially for those unable to work and care?

As Bowlingbun rightly says, it confirms what we were probably all thinking and going through anyway. It’s just very worthwhile to see things quantified sometimes, and to a degree (as if we needed it) it does validate our feelings.
I do reckon though, that the number of participants in the survey is likely to be a small fraction of those affected. Probably 10%. If that.
My thanks go to the organisers and admins involved.

Hi bowlingbun and Anthony

Thanks for comments and reflections on the State of Caring report. I have passed these onto our policy team and will ask them for a response which I can post in this thread.


especially for those unable to work and care?


But when is all the research going to make a difference to unpaid carers on the ground!

Carers still lacking respite and suffering financially.

I know the government would have us working and doing unpaid caring but that is not possible for most.

My own situation has improved but I am aware of so many others who are struggling on.

Personally I think carers need more than just being visible and their feelings being validated.

That is simply not not enough

Unpaid carers deserve a good quality of life, just the same as everyone else.

It’s shocking that with everything going up fuel,food even basic minimum wage,that the lowest of benefits are not considered . It’s a disgrace how much the Carers Allowance actually is and yes I know you can earn on top but finding these jobs are not easy ,almost impossible. Services are basically non existent . While when Covid in its peak Universal Credit had a top up ,those on Carers Allowance are invisable.

Just imagine if all the unpaid carers went on strike ,it never happen because we care and couldn’t . Time we had , a voice not to remain the invisable people any more .

Thanks Elizabeth and Cloudygal for your further posts in this topic. I passed on bowlingbun’s post above to our Policy team and have received the following response which I hope will help to explain Carers UK’s campaigning priorities for the coming year and beyond…

Dear Bowlingbun – thank you very for your comment.

At Carers UK we will continue to campaign – both publicly and behind the scenes – on a range of different issues related to caring. These are all issues that carers have told us they want and need us to focus on. Please find more detail below:

Social care reform: We are working hard to ensure that unpaid carers are at the heart of the reforms the Government is setting out in a White Paper for social care before the end of the year. This is a once in a decade opportunity to make sure carers are recognised, valued and properly supported, and we remain hopeful that carers’ experience and support will be rightly recognised as an invaluable part of the wider health and social care system.

Breaks: We want Government to urgently provide all carers who provide substantial hours of care each week with a break that meets their needs – specifically, the UK Government should be investing an additional £1.5 billion in carers’ breaks so that they have the confidence that good-quality services will be available when they need them.

Care services: The UK Government needs to continue to ensure that there is sufficient baseline funding for social care over the next three years and to ensure that the Health and Care Levy delivers this for carers. We also are calling for the Dilnot reforms that were recently proposed by Government (e.g. introducing a cap and floor for social care) should consider the role and impact of carers, including the costs borne by family members.

Financial support for carers: Our latest findings show that many carers are continuing to face increased financial pressures and that they are worried about how caring will continue to impact on their finances. We want to see Government take action by: (1) increasing the rate of Carer’s Allowance (CA); (2) reviewing the overlapping benefits rule that precludes those who receive a state pension from claiming CA; and (3) increasing the earnings limit for claiming CA, that is currently not keeping pace with rises to the national living wage (meaning carers can work for less hours and still claim CA).

Health and wellbeing: Carers told us that support with their own health and wellbeing is now a top priority, so we are calling for greater focus in this area. Specifically, we are calling for Government to place a new Duty on the NHS to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing. We also want Government to recognise (as Public Health England have done) that caring should be seen as a social determinant of health. We also want to see all parts of the NHS working to systematically identify carers and ensure that they are consulted and have the right support.

Support for working carers: including those currently juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities, as well as those looking to return to work – we are very pleased that our Carer’s Leave campaign has helped to convince the Government to commit to introducing this landmark legislation (which we are calling to be introduced as soon as possible), and that the Government are also currently consulting on proposed changes to flexible working which would benefit carers. Specifically, we want the Government to implement a day one right to request flexible working as this would help carers to juggle work and care, potentially return to work and would help foster a better culture.

In Western Australia, there is a RIGHT to 6 weeks respite every year. I’d like to see something similar here.