Last month, Carers UK published new research indicating that just under half (45%) of carers are unable to manage their monthly expenses due to the cost of living crisis out-pricing them and no emergency increase in benefits to assist those struggling.
The research, conducted on 3,300 unpaid carers, showed that 46% of those surveyed “feel the oncoming increases in energy bills will negatively affect their own physical and mental health or that of the person they care for”, with over half already cutting back on heating (58%) and 32% of participants worried they may have to use a foodbank in the near future.
Carer’s benefits cut
As the Guardian reports, while carer’s allowance has been increased from £67.60 a week to £69.70 this year, carers in fact are taking a 4.5% cut in real-terms when inflation and price rises is taken into account.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“We are seeing unprecedented levels of stress and financial worries piled on unpaid carers. Many were already struggling to manage their monthly expenses before the soaring energy prices and inflation increasing the price of essentials. Now 45% of carers are unable to manage their monthly expenses…
“Carers are propping up our health and care system at a huge cost to their own personal health, finances and ability to stay in work. Now the picture is even bleaker, with increasing costs forcing them to cut back on food, on heat, and more than ever are worried that they will be pushed into debt.”
How to reduce your heating bill
If you’re one of the carers affected by the cost of living crisis, you may be among the millions of people across the UK looking at ways to cut back on your heating bill and save money. A few key ways to cut back on your heating bill can include:
- Get your boiler and heating systems serviced to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible and not wasting energy
- Keep doors in your home closed to retain heat better, and fit draught excluders.
- Consider switching suppliers if you’ve been with the same company for some time – you may be able to find a better rate with a different provider.
- Turn down or switch off the radiators in rooms not used often so you’re not wasting energy heating rooms that you’re not in.
- Readjust the times your heating comes on and off. For example, don’t have your heating on when you won’t be in the house!
- Layer up what you’re wearing where possible. A jumper could keep you just as warm as an extra hour of heating, but will cost a lot less.
- Consider installing a smart meter so you have more accurate bills and can track exactly how much energy you’re using.
- Make sure your home’s insulation and double glazing is correctly fitted to avoid losing excess heat.
If you’re an employed carer or you employ carer with direct payments, one cost that’s important not to skip is carer’s insurance. Carer’s insurance covers you if an injury or accident means you are unable to work, for loss or damage to property, legal expenses, and public liability.
To make sure you’re covered, get a quote for your carer’s insurance policy now.