Unpaid care must be better valued to tackle inequality, research finds

Unpaid care must be better valued to tackle inequality, research finds

One Parent Families Scotland has joined Oxfam Scotland, Carers Scotland and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) in calling for unpaid caring responsibilities to be better valued by governments.

Oxfam’s ‘Time to Care’ report reveals the scale of global inequality linked to care work, ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Oxfam Scotland analysis shows the estimated value of unpaid care work in Scotland to be £36 billion, and polling shows 72 percent of people in Scotland back governments spending more on social security benefits for carers of those who are sick or disabled.

Care work includes looking after children, elderly people, disabled people and those with additional needs, as well as daily domestic work like cooking and cleaning.

Caring is often associated with a higher risk of poverty. For example, 12 percent of working-age couples without dependent children in Scotland live in poverty, but this rises to 18 percent for couples with dependent children. The poverty rate for single mothers is 39 percent, which is higher than the overall rate for working age adults of 20 percent.

Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families Scotland said: “For many single parents – the vast majority of whom are women – being both the main carer and breadwinner for their children places them in a unique position of trying to manage caring responsibilities with paid work.

“The care and welfare of their children is the primary concern of the parents we work with, but in the current economy where paid work is seen as the ultimate goal parents often feel that their caring role is devalued.

“Recognising and valuing the caring role of single parents is vital and would enable them to make informed choices about paid work that they could balance with their caring responsibilities and enter work that does not keep them in poverty. Key to this is childcare.

“Whilst we welcome the expansion of early learning and childcare and the focus on quality, the Scottish Government needs to ensure that it is flexible enough to allow single parents to study, train, enter and progress in paid work.”

Read the full press release from Oxfam Scotland here.

Download ‘Time to Care’ report

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