A national carers' charity today called on all political parties to recognise that they cannot deliver support for older and disabled people without the help of the country's army of unpaid carers.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers estimates there are currently 6 million people across the UK who look after a family member who is sick, disabled or has a mental health or substance misuse problem.
This group saves the Government about £87 billion a year through caring at home and yet, according to the trust, none of the three main political parties has proposed how they will support carers in the next Government.
Carole Cochrane, chief executive at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: "We are deeply concerned that the next elected Government could fail millions of unpaid carers. It is unacceptable that the three main parties have not made any clear indications about supporting carers or even if carers will be included in their manifestos.
"We support the principle of free personal care at home but the current Government's offer will not reach many of the families that we support.
"The National Carers' Strategy has laudable vision but, as our research uncovered, the NHS failed to spend 80% of its allocated funds on breaks for carers in 2008/09 as was intended. This must improve.
"David Cameron has discussed carers having the right to breaks but carers need to know how much respite they are entitled to and who is eligible.
"Breaks are one important part of the picture; specialist information, respect from doctors and other health professionals, and practical help to continue caring are also vital.
"The Conservative Party is also offering everyone opt-in insurance cover for residential care costs but for many elderly people the goal is to stay at home and that will require support from carers.
"While the Liberal Democrat party has pledged to improve access to GPs around the clock and improve local accountability for health services, we are disappointed that they have withdrawn their policy of universal increase in the provision of free personal care for those over 65 without providing details of what their policy for social care will be."
Carole added: "We want the state to support, not distort, family relationships.
"The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is calling on all political parties to deliver the following asks in their election manifestos: a guarantee that the National Carers' Strategy will not be abandoned; a Carers' Centre in every area; and that every carer has the right to breaks and higher benefits to avoid living in poverty."
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers provides quality information, advice and support services to more than 400,000 carers, including approximately 25,000 young carers. For more information, go to www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net