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Unpaid carers in employment forced to reduce their working hours for the fifth consecutive year as Carer Poverty Coalition publishes its demands of government.
  • Unpaid carers forced to reduce their working hours from April 2024. 
  • Carer Poverty Coalition of 130 organisations is calling on political parties to commit to a full review of financial support for unpaid carers and rules preventing them from working alongside caring role. 

Unpaid carers who have part-time jobs alongside their caring role will have to decrease their working hours for the fifth consecutive year as the earnings threshold for receiving Carer’s Allowance fails to keep pace with the National Living Wage.  

In April, the earnings threshold for claiming Carer’s Allowance will increase by 8.6% to £151 per week. However, the National Living Wage is once again due to rise at a higher rate, by 9.8% to £11.44 per hour. 

Over the last five years, the number of hours carers have been able to work earning the National Living Wage, while also receiving Carer’s Allowance, has shrunk from just under 15 hours a week in 2019 to just over 13 hours and 12 minutes from April. 

This represents a loss of nearly 2 hours a week, totaling 13 days over a year – a substantial loss for those, whose caring responsibilities already make them vulnerable to poverty. 

The Carer Poverty Coalition, a group of 130 national and local organisations campaigning to end poverty amongst unpaid carers, has today published a manifesto calling on all political parties to commit to a full review of Carer’s Allowance and other means tested benefits available to carers. This review should include the level of financial support offered to unpaid carers and an increase of the earnings limit to 21 hours per week, pegged at National Living Wage. This will help to ensure unpaid carers are more financially resilient and help those able to work part-time to do so. 

The Carer Poverty Coalition is also urging political parties to announce policies to prevent unpaid carers from falling into poverty in the first place, to provide specific support to stay in and return to work as well as targeted policies to support younger and older carers. 

A recent survey by Carers UK found that over a third of carers (34%) had cut back on essentials like food or heating, whilst 45% of those receiving Carer’s Allowance were struggling to make ends meet. 


Emily Holzhausen OBE, Chair of the Carer Poverty Coalition and Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, said: 

“The Government could be doing much more to support unpaid carers to work as much as they are able to, alongside their caring role. We must see a review of Carer’s Allowance, which includes an increase in the earnings limit to 21 hours per week, pegged to the National Living Wage.  

“Unpaid carers provide £162 billion a year of care – the cost of a second NHS. Supporting unpaid carers to remain in work benefits families, the economy and society.” 

“Yet unpaid carers are increasingly living in poverty are struggling to make ends meet with many choosing between heating their homes and putting food on the table for their families. This is clearly unacceptable. The social security system supporting unpaid carers financially should be reviewed as a priority to ensure that there is a more robust safety net for those caring for older, ill or disabled relatives or friends.”  

The Carer Poverty Coalition manifesto calls on all political parties to prioritise and support unpaid carers at all stages of their caring journey by announcing policies to remove barriers to work, increasing social security benefits and changing eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance. 


Posted: 28th March 2024