Thursday, March 3rd 2022 between 9:30 am and 1:00pm.

Public Policy Exchange will be hosting a webinar on informal carers – Providing greater support to relieve financial and emotional pressure.

Thursday 3rd March 9.30 am – 1.00 pm


·         Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Social Care
·         Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs Carers UK
·         Linda Blair, Journalist & Author on the topic of Informal Carers
·         Anna Jacklin, Young Carers Participation Worker at The Children’s Society


There are an estimated 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK, following an increase of around 4.5 million since the beginning of the pandemic. These carers are thought to save the taxpayer around £132 billion per year by taking on roles which would otherwise be the responsibility of the state, however many have been forced into poverty as a result. Over half of carers have reported feeling anxious or stressed about their finances, as many are forced to give up work and rely on the government’s Carer’s Allowance, whilst others are unable to increase their hours of paid employment at risk of exceeding the Allowance’s Earnings Limit. The Covid-19 pandemic placed even greater pressure on informal carers; Carers UK reported that 81% took on more care for relatives and 72% were unable to take any breaks from their caring role. As the pandemic eases, 55% of those relying on day services and a third of people needing support from care workers still have reduced or no access to help. This pressure is not isolated to adult carers; the UK’s 800,000 young carers saw their responsibilities intensify throughout the pandemic, leaving 1 in 3 dealing with mental health issues and 27% missing or having difficulties at school as a result. If we are to prevent financial hardship and protect mental health, it is essential that unpaid carers are properly recognised and supported. 

The government recently announced a new £12 billion health and social care levy which, over three years, will provide £5.4 billion in funding for social care. The Treasury also recently announced an additional £4.8 billion in funding over three years for local councils in order to address existing shortfalls in the provision of social care. With regard to the challenges of employment, the government has confirmed that it will introduce a day one right both to request flexible working and for one-week’s unpaid leave for those carers balancing a job with their caring responsibilities. Legislative support for carers largely comes from the Care Act 2014, which requires local authorities to assess needs, identify areas where support may be given, and provide respite where required. The Health and Care Bill, currently in Parliament, intends to improve existing procedures so that carers may be properly included in all patient and public involvement and consultations. 

However, many organisations have called for far greater reform in order to relieve pressure on informal carers. The £12 billion levy has been criticised by Carers Trust on the basis that it prioritises the rescue of the NHS rather than attempting to fix the social care system, whilst Carers UK have called for an immediate increase in funding, both warning that services will face inordinate pressure without proper investment. Additionally, Carers Trust have called for an increase in the Carer’s Allowance, referring to it as the lowest benefit of its kind, alongside an increase in the Earning Threshold so that unpaid carers may continue to work whilst remaining protected from financial hardship. With regard to the legislative framework, questions have been raised over the extent to which local authorities have been able to adequately fulfil their obligations under the Care Act, whilst Carers UK have called for the Health and Care Bill to give far more weight to the health and wellbeing of carers themselves. 

This symposium will provide a vital opportunity to bring unpaid carers to the forefront of discussions about health and social care. In order to properly acknowledge the needs of unpaid carers, action must be taken both nationally and locally, in homes, health care settings, and in schools.


  • Evaluate the current legislative framework surrounding informal carers, considering the extent to which the duties outlined are being adequately fulfilled, opportunities for legislative reform, and the Health and Care Bill 2021
  • Examine the potential impact that government investment in health and social care may have on informal carers and the extent to which this is sufficient to address existing issues
  • Discuss the role of local authorities in providing support to unpaid carers, sharing best practice in the allocation of resources and identification of those in need 
  • Assess the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on informal carers and discuss ideas on how to mitigate these effects
  • Formulate strategies to target the financial burden which accompanies informal care responsibilities, particularly considering the Carer’s Allowance and Earning Threshold
  • Explore how employers can provide greater support to unpaid carers, particularly with regard to flexible working and carer’s leave 
  • Discuss strategies to further educate the relevant stakeholders on methods to identify and support young people in need
  • Analyse the effects which care responsibilities can have on the mental health of informal carers, assessing the effectiveness and availability of mental health support
  • Explore strategies for ensuring greater support for young carers, particularly in schools, both with regard to educational attainment and pastoral care
  • Improve procedures for helping young carers transition into adulthood, ensuring that they are able to access the same opportunities as their peers
  • Consider the role of technology in providing new avenues through which carers can access support

Contact co-ordinator, Mokshana Nawosah <> for a registration form.

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