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Carers Week 2022: Rising pressures on Scotland’s unpaid carers as public backing for greater support grows

by Fiona Collie 08 June 2022
  • It is estimated that 328,000 unpaid carers in Scotland are concerned for their physical and mental health
  • and 195,000 are worried about their ability to cope financially
  • More care is being provided by unpaid carers than ever before – even more than during the height of the pandemic
  • Overwhelming public support for more Government action to help unpaid carers

Carers Week charities are calling for an urgent 12-month plan of targeted support for unpaid carers across the UK. Many carers are struggling with the ongoing impact, as well as the negative legacy, of the pandemic, together with the strain of the social care and cost of living crises.

For the first time, the impact of caring on their own physical and mental health has topped carers’ concerns, closely followed by money worries. 

The research, released for Carers Week 2022 (6-12 June), reveals that 87% of the general public in Scotland think that the government should provide additional support to unpaid carers, including increased financial support and investment in care and support services so that unpaid carers can have a break.

The report also shows that there are more unpaid carers in 2022 than before the pandemic, with one in five of Scotland’s adults (approximately 887,815 people) now supporting a relative, close friend or neighbour because of chronic illness, including mental ill-health, dementia, disability, or older age. The intensity of care they are providing has grown since earlier in the pandemic, with several factors possibly having an impact:  Many services remain reduced or closed, people who are more vulnerable to coronavirus continue to shield, pressures on primary and secondary health care and the chronic shortage of social care.

The number of people providing over 50 hours per week across the UK has risen by 30%.

At the same time, carers with lower household incomes were much more likely to be providing significant amounts of care (i.e, over 20 hours per week). Providing more care also reduces the chance of coping financially as carers are less likely to be able to juggle work and care, pushing them into poverty and financial hardship.

The six charities supporting Carers Week 2022 in Scotland are Carers Scotland; Age Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland, MND Scotland, Oxfam Scotland and The Lewy Body Society. Together, they are calling for:

In Scotland: the Scottish Government to publish its Carers Strategy and COVID recovery plan as soon as possible and ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to it to meet the ongoing challenges facing carers as the country learns to live with COVID.

With the Carers Week partners across the UK they are also calling for priority for implementing carers leave, actions to boost carers’ incomes to reduce the risk of poverty and hardship, help with food and energy costs and, ahead of the winter, inclusion in the vaccination booster programme.

Commenting on behalf of Carers Week charities, Richard Meade, Director of Carers Scotland said:

“Clearly, whilst society has opened up for many people, it’s a very different picture for significant numbers of carers.  

“So many have sacrificed their physical and mental health caring for their loved ones over the last two years and as this report clearly shows, it is absolutely essential that carers get the support they need to recover and stay well and meet the rising costs of living, that working carers are helped to stay in employment and that all carers can feel visible, valued and supported.”

Media contact
For media enquiries, please contact Carers Scotland who are handling media queries for Carers Week in Scotland:

  • Fiona Collie, Head of Policy & Public Affairs Scotland and NI This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07967826238
  • Richard Meade, Director, Carers Scotland This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07368970219

About Carers Week:
Carers Week, established by Carers UK 27 years ago, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with hundreds of virtual events planned for carers across the UK.  We all have a role to play in helping make caring Visible, Valued and Supported, whether it's by providing support to a member of your local community group or connecting with a family member or friend who is caring for someone. You can find out more about Carers Week and how to get involved here:

Carers Week is led by Carers UK, with the support of six other national charities in 2022: Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association, Rethink Mental Illness, Oxfam GB and The Lewy Body Society.  
Twitter: @CarersWeek #carersweek

Headline estimates have been calculated using the YouGov percentage results for this survey and applying to the latest ONS population estimates for Scotland. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4317 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th April - 4th May 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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