A new study has highlighted the acute financial burden on carers amidst the cost-of-living crisis, with 41% saying they are struggling financially.
Concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on its members, Network, providers of discount schemes for 2.7 million key workers including carers commissioned research to understand the effect of the enormous pressures facing carers in the current climate.
The research has found that 41% of carers are in financial difficulty and describe their financial situation as either; ‘making ends meet, but no more’; ‘falling a little behind, relying a bit on credit’: or ‘a very difficult situation-heavily in debt’.
Aaron, a carer, said, ‘I have cut out completely any treats this month to make sure I can pay bills at the end of the month… I am afraid to spend on anything which is not essential.’
Network is calling on policymakers to make key workers more aware of the availability of discount schemes so that carers, are able to take advantage of the additional helping hand that these schemes provide.
Discount schemes also have the additional benefit of boosting morale at a crucial time when recruitment and retention are among the biggest challenges facing the care sector.
Commenting on the pressures faced at work, carer Ewan said: ‘I have often wondered what would happen if I said I cannot cope with this anymore! … I am sure I won't last until retirement age with the current workload and stress I feel.’
Significantly, the research reveals that 91% of key workers who have access to one of Network’s discount schemes have a better quality of life and save an average of over £2,200 a year. The study also shows the impact of discount schemes on recruitment and retention, with 46% saying they feel more loyal to their role and 37% are more likely to recommend their workplace to others.
A carer, Suzy, added, ‘The impact of the discounts gives me peace of mind, which is good for my wellbeing and quality of life and alleviates the worry of the cost of items which I do need to purchase.’
Storm Postlethwaite, Managing Director of Network, said, ‘Our key workers make an extraordinary and invaluable contribution to the country every day, and yet many are faced with financial hardship and increasing pressures due to workforce shortages and the cost-of-living crisis.
‘While times are tough, it is vital that we offer a helping hand to relieve some of the pressures and provide some additional reward and support. Discount schemes are an important way in which we can achieve this and show our appreciation. We are therefore calling on the Government to ensure that employers are aware of the schemes available to help their staff cope with the cost-of-living crisis.’
Visit the Discount for Carers website to find out more information.
In other news, the Conservative Party leadership race has been whittled down to the final two candidates, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will now hold hustings across the country to try and secure their win.