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Two-fifths of grandparents providing regular childcare believe their family would struggle financially without their help

Published on 29 September 2017 11:00 PM

Two million grandparents over the age of 50[xi] - two-fifths (40%) of all those who have provided regular childcare for their grandchildren[xi] - feel the family would have struggled financially without their help, according to a new YouGov poll for leading older people's Charity Age UK.

The new research, published by Age UK ahead of national Grandparents' Day this Sunday (1st October), highlights the vital role played by the nation's 14 million grandparents[xi] in enabling parents to work.

The Charity's new research found that well over half (57%) of grandparents surveyed providing regular childcare believe their help has enabled their own children to work more to support their family. Had they been unable to look after their grandchildren, a fifth (20%) of grandparents who have provided regular care feel the parents would have been unable to continue working, over a third (35%) felt they would have had to reduce their hours, and over half (54%) said the parents would have had to pay for formal childcare.[xi]

The survey also reveals the huge time commitment given by many grandparents, with the vast majority (89%) of those who provide or provided regular care doing so at least once a week, with one in 10 (12%) looking after their grandchildren at least once a day, a fifth (18%) looking after them 4-6 times a week, and almost two-fifths (38%) looking after them 2-3 times a week. Just over half (51%) of the grandparents who provided regular care for their grandchildren did so for up to five years and a further 28% did so for between 5-10 years.[xi]

Further demonstrating the commitment of grandparents across the country, the research reveals that just over a fifth (22%) of those who provided regular care for their grandchildren stopped work or reduced their hours in order to do so[xi] - prompting Age UK to call on grandparents who are under State Pension Age[xi] and regularly looking after grandchildren under the age of 12 to see if they are entitled to claim National Insurance (NI) credits which could help to build up their State Pension.[xi]

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request earlier this year found that in the 12 months to September 2016, only 1,298 grandparents took advantage of the government scheme which allows them to receive transferred NI credits - despite an estimated 100,000 being eligible.[xi]

Age UK's Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, said: 'Many grandparents play a vital role in the care of their grandchildren, enabling their own children to stay in work and provide for the family. But many are unaware that they could be claiming extra credits to boost their State Pension which could make a significant difference to their retirement income. We'd like to hear from any grandparents who are providing regular care for their grandchildren and in their mid-60s or younger in case they are entitled to apply for NI credits.'

Age UK is urging any grandparent who thinks they may be entitled to get in touch by calling the Charity's advice line, Age UK Advice, on Freephone 0800 169 6565 or visit to download a State Pension factsheet free of charge.


Ref: krsljbswefyougov


Age UK Contact:

Sarah Timms

Senior Media Officer, Age UK

t 020 3033 1204



Notes to editors


[xi] Calculated by Age UK, using YouGov data. Two million is 40% of the five million who provide(d) regular childcare. The percentages are from the YouGov data and the grossed figures are based on the total number of grandparents aged 50 and over in the UK and calculated by Age UK. (page 3).

[xi] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc for Age UK. Total sample size was 1,048 UK grandparents aged 50 and over, of which 421 provided regular care for their grandchildren. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 31st August 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 50+).

[xi] There is an estimated total of 14 million grandparents in the UK - 12.5 million of this number are aged 50 and over. (page 3).

[xi] Ibid

[xi] Ibid

[xi] Ibid



[xi] FOI source:

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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