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Nearly 8 million people providing care for family members without pay

The number of people caring for a family member has reached 7.6 million, a sharp increase of one million compared with a decade ago.

Data analysis by the Social Market Foundation, an independent thinktank, shows that millions are now giving up their time to for free to look after elderly relatives, a partner or a sick or disabled child – with the number spending 20 hours or more caring for a relative up by 4% between 2005 and 2015.

The thinktank analysis, sponsored by Age UK, comes as ministers prepare to publish a green paper on social care. The government originally promised the green paper before last year’s general election, but then said it would be unveiled before MPs’ summer recess – although there were hopes it would appear much sooner.

The Social Market Foundation report also found that family carers provide 149m hours of care each week, equal to the work of 4 million full-time caregivers.

Other findings include the fact that more than half (59%) of those providing care for an elderly relative are women. Of those providing care to a sick or disabled child, 65% are women. More

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