Legal & General is championing for change after learning the UK's informal carers are contributing the equivalent of billions of pounds to meet the care needs of relatives and friends.
Analysis from Think Tank Demos has revealed the total value of informal care is nearly as large as the UK’s entire health spending at £144bn and stands at nearly eight times total spending on adult social care at £18bn.
Legal & General is now encouraging the government to look closely at how both the benefits system and the formal care system could work alongside the informal sector to get better outcomes for people and society.
Chris Knight, chief executive officer for Legal & General’s retirement retails, said: “Millions of informal carers play a crucial part in the long-term care system. The reality of everyday care, where paid and unpaid carers work alongside the NHS, is not reflected in the current very complicated benefits and support system. We are calling for a long-term care system that better recognises the incredible contribution of informal carers.
“The government is right to focus on formal provision in its review of care policy, but if we are to create a better long-term care system, we must also recognise the vital role sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, partners, even friends play in helping their loved ones. It might be ‘informal’, but this is care that for thousands of people across the UK, is very much valued.”
According to recent research by Carers UK, 12 per cent of the UK population are informal carers.
Based on the Office for National Statistics's population forecast, the Demos analysis estimated the total number of people to be providing informal care in the UK in 2018 to be 7.98 million.
Alex Reynolds adviser with Advies Private Clients, said: “It is a fiendishly complex area that will take more than one government paper to sort out unfortunately.
"A carer's allowance is already in place to help pay people but the person being cared for must be receiving one of a specified number of benefits for this to be payable.
"The reality is that this needs to increase to help support carers and for a review to be done of who benefits currently and who is missing out, and for those missing out we need to see how the rules need to be changed to help them too."