More than five million people are providing unpaid care for one in
10 of the population, according to the census 2001, released last
The first ever figures for the provision of care reveal that one in
five of the 5.2 million carers in England and Wales provide free
care to friends or relatives for 50-plus hours per week.
The former coalfield communities of Durham, Derbyshire, Lancashire
and South Yorkshire were found to have the highest proportion of
unpaid carers in England, while the average number of carers in
Wales was higher than in any English region.
Paul Burstow MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on older people,
said: “With more and more councils cutting care services, the
burden is falling even more heavily on families. Many people have
to give up full-time work in order to care for friends or
relatives. This can force them closer to the poverty line.”
The census also found that ethnic minorities now make up 9 per cent
of the population in England. In the London boroughs of Newham and
Brent, ethnic minorities make up 60.6 per cent and 54.7 per cent of
the population respectively.
Lone parents now account for 9.6 per cent of households and, for
the first time, people aged over 60 out-number children aged under
Meanwhile, Westminster Council is threatening the Office of
National Statistics with legal action if the census’s population
figure for the borough is not changed. The council believes the
figure – and therefore its grant allocation – is incorrect.