About one in five households with an unpaid carer for someone who is disabled or in bad health across England and Wales have no access to a private vehicle, new analysis shows.
The findings show that nearly half a million households across England and Wales (486,341) that include someone disabled or in bad health did not have a car or truck at the time of the 2021 census.
The analysis by the PA news agency includes some of the UK’s biggest cities, such as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as some London boroughs where the figure is closer to one in three.
The data comes at the start of Carers Week, which aims to recognise the contribution made by the UK’s 5.7 million carers.
In 24 local authorities in England, at least 20% of unpaid carer households at the time of the census had no access to a private vehicle and had someone identified as disabled or in bad or very bad health, the data shows.
The top 12 local authorities were all in London, led by Islington; where 33.8% of all unpaid carer households did not have a car or truck; followed by Camden at 32.6%; and Westminster, at 32.3%.
Outside London, areas where above 20% of carers had no access to a private vehicle included Liverpool at 23.6%, Hull at 22.0%, Manchester at 21.9%, and Newcastle at 21.8%.
PA also noted a clear north-south divide in the findings when it came to the type of accommodation lived in by these households.
Households that fit this definition in northern England were more likely to live in terraced homes, while those mainly in the south were more likely to reside in flats, apartments or maisonettes.
Liverpool topped the list of areas with the highest proportion of unpaid carer households living in terraces without a private vehicle and with someone in bad health or disabled (11.6%), followed by Hull (11.2%), Burnley (9.7%) and Knowsley (9.2%).
In contrast, Westminster (29.6%), Camden (29.2%), Islington (28.3%) and Tower Hamlets (25.6%) headed the equivalent list for households in flats or apartments.
In Wales, Cardiff had the highest proportion of unpaid carer households in any kind of accommodation with no private transport and with someone who is disabled or in bad health (14.1%), followed by Merthyr Tydfil (13.7%), Newport (13.3%) and Blaenau Gwent (12.5%).
Helen Walker, the chief executive of national campaigning charity Carers UK, which set up and leads Carers Week, said the statistics showed the huge challenges faced by unpaid carers, and called for more to be done to support them.
She said: “Looking after a disabled, ill or older relative or friend unpaid can be rewarding, but it’s clear to see how many families face huge challenges; lack of transport, difficulties with housing, barriers to juggling work and care, poorer health and wellbeing and a negative impact on their finances.
“The shortage of care, lack of breaks and low carers’ benefits have left many feeling exhausted and at the end of their tether. Unpaid carers deserve better.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Unpaid carers play a vital role in our communities, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. We’ve earmarked £327m through our Better Care Fund this year to support local authorities with health and care services, including providing carers with advice, support and short breaks and respite services.
“We continue to provide financial support to unpaid carers through carer’s allowance, and we are finalising plans for how we deliver up to an additional £25m to support carers and hope to share those shortly.”
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