With the latest announcement from Whitehall on public sector pay, Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care comments.
“Whilst investment in public sector workers is clearly welcome, it is bitterly disappointing that social care remains overlooked and ignored by government.
The persistent restrictions on social care funding means that this is by default a largely minimum wage sector. With 80% of our income being spent directly on salaries, care providers do not have capacity to independently provide the uplifts that our workforce deserves without investment in our sector. This is continually not happening and it is illogical for the government to present this as a local authority responsibility to solve.
Local authorities are cash-strapped and many find themselves unable to even meet the costs of National Minimum Wage rises set by central government. This means that whilst our contracts remain the same, we somehow have to find funds to meet these increases – often challenging the viability and sustainability of the services that we provide. All the while, the gap between care workers and the rest of society increases.
We can be in no doubt of the value and importance of social care workers. It should be a matter of national shame that they have been on the frontline of this crisis on minimum wage salaries and without the safety net of meaningful sick pay. This is a fundamental factor in the 122,000 vacancies that currently exist in social care.
There is no other minimum wage sector where workers have such significant responsibility and accountability. We need to recognise that most people would feel unsuited to work in care, yet we treat it as though it is the most basic job in society. I would implore the government to recognise this fact, by providing ring-fenced investment into local authorities to uplift the pay of the social care workforce.”