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‘Care crisis’ risks rise in inequality against women, says UN

The world economy faces a looming “care crisis” risking further division between men and women across the planet, according to a UN report calling for governments and companies worldwide to spend at least an extra $7tn on care by 2030.

Rising birth rates and increased life expectancy mean there will be about 200 million extra people on the planet needing care by 2030, with as many as 2.3 billion forecast to need some form of support from governments, the private sector or friends and family, the ILO said. The bulk of the increase will come from African nations, although there are also rising needs in many major economies, including the UK.

Having ran macroeconomic forecasts for 45 countries’ spending needs, the ILO said the shifting demographic picture meant investment in care would need to rise from about 8.7% of GDP at present to 14.9% of projected world economic output by the end of the next decade. In cash terms, that would mean an increase of about $4tn to lift spending levels on care to about $14.9tn by 2030.

The call from the UN agency comes after Theresa May promised to raise spending on the NHS by £20bn by 2024, while omitting to provide additional funds for social care. The UK government also delayed a green paper on older people’s social care until the autumn.

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