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More Than 100000 Unpaid Carers Forced To Use Foodbanks During Lockdown

June 17, 2020

Elderly spouses caring for each other and parents caring for disabled children are twice as likely as the general public to have used a food bank since lockdown, research has shown.

The report, which experts said should “shock the nation”, found that more than 100,000 people doing unpaid caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives had been forced to use food banks since start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figures paint a worrying picture of carers, especially those aged between 17 and 30, being under intolerable pressure. Almost 229,000 told researchers they have had someone in their household go hungry during lockdown.

Christie, who is in her 30s, cares for her 76-year-old mother who has epilepsy, physical needs and struggles with her mental health.

“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been caring for mum on my own,” she said. “We’ve both been shielding but I’ve had to use food banks, otherwise we simply wouldn’t have had enough to eat.”

The research, carried out by the universities of Sheffield and Birmingham in partnership with the charity Carers UK, adds to an already worrying picture of carers facing intolerable pressures after coronavirus hit.

Research carried out by Carers UK in April showed 70% of people caring for more than 50 hours a week are providing even more care during the pandemic, and 55% told the charity they feel overwhelmed managing their responsibilities. Over 80% had to spend more money on necessities such as food and household bills.

Prof Sue Yeandle, head of the sustainable care programme at Sheffield University, said: “Our new study’s findings should worry us all. That in April 2020, people in so many carers’ households went hungry and needed to use a food bank to have enough to eat must surely shock the nation.

“Our findings call for urgent government action to help carers struggling to cope,” she added. “It cannot be right that carers are hidden from view, with declining mental wellbeing, or face hunger and food poverty as they care for those among us who need support.”

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “This pandemic is pushing unpaid carers to breaking point physically and mentally. It is simply unacceptable that carers are having to go hungry because they do not have support.

“Surely, when the majority of carers are providing even more care for relatives during this pandemic, and spending more to do so, they deserve some help?” she added. “The government must acknowledge the impact the pandemic is having on carers’ finances and job prospects and raise carer’s allowance as a matter of urgency.”

Carers UK wants to see the carer’s allowance raised from its current £67.25 a week and a one-off coronavirus supplement of £20 a week paid to those entitled to the allowance – to match the rise it has made for those receiving universal credit to meet extra costs during the pandemic.

A government spokesperson said: “We recently announced an extra £63m to support people struggling to afford food and other essentials due to coronavirus.

“The rate of carer’s allowance was recently increased and we are working closely with carers organisations to further support carers during this outbreak, including funding to extend Carers UK’s helpline opening times so unpaid carers are able to access trusted information and advice.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2020 10:42 am

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.

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