Young women in Bolton are expected to spend years longer than men providing unpaid care, new analysis shows.

New analysis from the Office for National Statistics reveals 15-year-old females in Bolton will spend an estimated 8.1 years providing unpaid care – accounting for 12 per cent of the rest of their lives.

This is compared to 5.6 years estimated for 15-year-old males in the area, creating a difference of 2.5 years.

The figures also highlighted the significant health impact on those who provided the highest amount of unpaid care.

In Bolton, 39 per cent of people who provided more than 50 hours of unpaid care reported not having good health in the 2021 Census.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent of people who said they did not provide any unpaid care reported either fair or bad health.

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Cllr Andy Morgan, Conservative Spokesman for Adult Social Care, Health & Wellbeing said “The disparity between males and females carrying out unpaid care hours can be attributed to various factors and the difference in life expectancy.

“Historically, women have been expected to take on most caregiving duties and often face greater challenges in balancing paid work with unpaid care responsibilities. 

“This sometimes results in women working part-time or opting for flexible work arrangements to accommodate caregiving duties. 

“Addressing the unequal distribution of unpaid care work requires changes including challenging perceived gender norms, implementing initiatives that support work-life balance for everyone, and promoting the sharing of caregiving responsibilities within families.

“Things are changing but clearly not fast enough.”

The Carers Trust said it is an "ongoing and deeply worrying trend" that caring responsibilities often fall on women.

Ramzi Suleiman, Carers Trust's policy and public affairs manager, said: "It is an ongoing and deeply worrying trend that those responsibilities so often fall on women."

He said local carer organisations can offer advice and support to unpaid carers but added "they can only do so much".

He said: "Whoever forms the next government needs to make long-term, sustainable funding for social care a top priority.

"They must also ensure unpaid carers can get much-needed breaks and are supported by a reformed welfare system that properly supports them."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said unpaid carers "play a vital role in our communities".

They added: "That’s why the latest NHS Constitution consultation includes and emphasises the importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers, as well as supporting them to balance employment with their caring responsibilities, where they wish to do so."

They added the Better Care Fund included £327 million in 2023-24 to provide carers with advice, support, short breaks, and respite services.

"Meanwhile, through our Accelerating Reform Fund, we are investing £42.6 million for innovative local projects - many of which are supporting unpaid carers," they said.

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