Sheffield report reveals value of unpaid care

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A Sheffield University report found that 59,870 people who provide unpaid care for a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in Sheffield save the UK economy £1.2b a year.

The report, by Carers UK and the University of Sheffield, shows that 6.8 million unpaid carers in the UK save the state £132b every year.

In Yorkshire and the Humber 573,954 unpaid carers save the state £11.2b.

The region’s unpaid carer population has grown by 11 per cent since 2001.

It is put down to an increasing number of people with disabilities and long-term illnesses living longer, and a reduction in the provision of local authority home care services.

Sue Yeandle, Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield, said: “There are more people caring for a loved one, and more people needing care, than ever before. This increase has occurred in the context of large reductions to home care services in recent years, raising serious concerns about whether the services families need to help them care well and have a life alongside caring will be there in the future.

“Carers are doing more than ever to support others. We must ensure that they get the support and recognition they need and deserve.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “Caring will touch all of our lives at some point, yet society and public services still haven’t grasped the extent to which our economy relies on unpaid care.

“If a small percentage were unable to continue caring, the economic impact would be catastrophic.

“If carers aren’t supported to care well for both themselves and their loved ones, the NHS and other public services would be forced to step in.”