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9 July 2019, 06:00
More than half of unpaid carers are unable to save for their own retirement, a report has found.
And more than two-thirds (68%) are dipping into their own income or savings to help cover the costs of caring for someone else, according to charity Carers UK.
Its survey of more than 7,500 people across the UK who are caring unpaid for family or friends found that 53% are unable to save for retirement.
More than eight in 10 (81%) of carers surveyed are female.
Nearly two-fifths (39%) are also in paid work and the majority provide well over 50 hours of care every week.
Many unpaid carers surveyed were aged between 50 and 64 - an age at which people tend to become more focused on their retirement plans.
Carers UK, a membership charity for people caring unpaid for family and friends, said the findings show the huge personal and financial cost of caring for a loved one.
Two fifths (39%) of carers said they are struggling to make ends meet.
One in eight (12%) carers said that they or their loved one had received less care or support in the previous year, as a result of reduced support from social services.
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: "This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, with carers already providing high levels of support left short-changed as they use money for their retirement trying to cover the care costs of their loved one today."
She continued: "Our current social care system is on the brink. Families urgently need affordable, high quality care services and carers need access to regular breaks and stronger workplace rights to ensure they can combine work and care if they wish to.
"The Conservative leadership candidates cannot afford to ignore this burning issue affecting millions across the country and must commit to funding and delivering a reformed system that has families at its heart."