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Our history

Since we were founded, Carers UK has been the driving force behind improvements to make carers’ lives better, including:


1963 The carers' movement started when our founder, the Reverend Mary Webster (pictured), wrote a letter to the newspapers about the difficulties of working and caring for ageinparents.

1965 Mary formed the National Council for the Single Woman and Her Dependents (NCSWD), which later became Carers UK. 

1967 Dependent Relative Tax Allowance - the first ever legal right for carers.

1976 The introduction of Invalid Care Allowance. This was the first benefit for carers, but only for unmarried people.


1981  Judith Oliver (pictured), who cared for her disabled husband, founded a new organisation, the Association of Carers. This was an organisation for all carers, with a member-led ethos which is written into Carers UK's constitution to this day.

JackieDrake1986  Married women and men win right to claim Invalid Carers Allowance following victory in European Court by Jackie Drake (pictured), a carer for her mother. Jackie's case was sponsored by a steering group of more than 50 organisations.


1988 National Council for Carers and their Elderly Dependents (previously the NCSWD) joins with the Association of Carers to create a single voice for carers in the form of the Carers National Association, led by Baroness Jill Pitkeathley (pictured).


MaclolmWicks1995 Carers National Association and the Rt. Hon Malcolm Wicks MP (pictured) secure landmark rights against all odds in the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act.

1996 The first ever legal recognition that carers have needs in their own right.

2001 Carers National Association renamed Carers UK to respond to devolution, establishing, Carers Scotland, Wales and Carers Northern Ireland. 

2002 A £400 million package of rises in carers' benefits.


2004 Carers UK and Carers Wales secure a Private Member's Bill with Dr Hywel Francis MP (pictured). This results in the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 which recognises the needs of carerbeyond their caring responsibilities (the right to time off to deal with emergencies and the right to request flexible working).


2008 Pension rights, meaning that for the first time, a lifetime of caring is treated on a par with a lifetime of paid work by the state pension system. Carers win protection against discrimination and harassment at work after carer Sharon Coleman (pictured) takes her case to European Court.

2010 Equality Act giving carers protections from discrimination for the first time.

2012 New rights announced for most carers including tougher duties on councils to assess and support carers (to come into force in 2015).

2013 Carers contribute to Carers UK's Caring and Family Finance Inquiry, a definitive study into the financial impact of caring.

2014 Parent carers win new rights under the Care Act, after initially being left out of new care laws.

2015 Carer’s Allowance protected while many other working-age benefits frozen.



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