MORE than 27,000 people in Barnsley provide unpaid care each week - the second highest figure in 15 areas across Yorkshire.

Statistics published on June 5 show a total of 27,167 unpaid carers across the borough - only Rotherham has more - with 43 per cent of that figure dedicating more than 20 hours a week to the role.

Trade union GMB wants employers to sign up to a charter which makes it easier for unpaid carers to combine paid work with their caring responsibilities.

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary, said: "This huge hidden army of unpaid, often voiceless carers saves taxpayers billions every year.

"In many areas there are far more unpaid carers than actual paid care providers in place.

"A radical overhaul of the current approach to paid and unpaid care is needed from society as a whole is required. That includes government and employers, as well as families."

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, were released ahead of carer's week, which started on Monday.