New estimates, calculated by charity Carers UK and the University of Leeds, show the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is now worth a staggering Â£119 billion every year.
The figure has risen by over a third since the 2007 estimate, which stood at Â£87 billion.
Carersâ€™ contribution now far outstrips the total cost of the NHS (Â£98.8 billion).
The figure amounts to Â£2.3 billion per week and Â£326 million per day.
New estimates show that there are around 6.4 million people in the UK providing care for ill or disabled loved ones that would otherwise cost the state Â£18 an hour, meaning that each carer saves on average Â£18,473 a year.
Given this massive contribution, Carers UK argues that society must do more to support growing numbers of carers. Chief Executive Imelda Redmond CBE said:
â€œOur society and public services could not function without the massive contribution made by over 6 million carers in the UK. This contribution is something we can be proud of as a country, and demonstrates how strong our families and communities are.
With an ageing population, caring is becoming a fact of life for every family. Yet, whilst families are meeting this challenge, many are struggling with little or no help, or facing cuts to the care services and benefits they rely on. Unless we urgently rethink how our society supports carers, we will see increasing numbers pushed to breaking point â€“ forced out of work and into poverty, ill-health and isolation.
These new figures send a clear message: carers contribute so much and they deserve better in return.â€
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