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Carer’s Allowance: how well does it support unpaid carers? What can we learn from recent Scottish reform?

Thursday 23 November 2023, 13:00 - 14:00

Link Seminar - November 2023

We’ll be joined by Professor Sue Yeandle and Becky Driscoll from the Centre for Care at the University of Sheffield.

 Title: Carer’s Allowance: how well does it support unpaid carers? What can we learn from recent Scottish reform?


Unpaid carers are under growing financial pressure. Carers UK found that a growing proportion of unpaid carers are struggling with their finances (State of Caring 2023 survey); 75% of those in receipt of Carer's Allowance are struggling with cost-of-living pressures, while almost half (46%) are cutting back on essentials, including food and heating. There has been very little change to Carer’s Allowance since it was first introduced in the UK in 1976 - almost 50 years ago - as a form of partial earnings replacement, primarily targeted at single women. It is a complex benefit, with multiple interactions with other benefits, including the state pension.

 In this seminar, we will explore how Carer’s Allowance currently works, and the case for urgent reform, including:

 The origins of Carer’s Allowance

  • How it currently works in England and Wales
  • Issues identified in research studies including: the low amount in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, the overlapping benefits rule, and difficulties combining caring with paid employment due to the earnings threshold and interaction with the national minimum wage.
  • International examples of alternative approaches to financial support for carers from Australia and Ireland.
  • Lessons from the recent reform of Carer’s Allowance in Scotland, and the extent to which these changes address the issues described


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