Pressures on essential care and support services will continue to mount with far-reaching consequences if social care workers are not fairly and adequately rewarded for the vital work they carry out, the Voluntary Organisations Disability (VODG) has today warned as it releases new analysis on the workforce funding gap.
It comes in response to yesterday’s (19 July 2022) public sector pay rise announcements, which will see levels of pay increase for NHS and other public sector workers.
VODG, an infrastructure body representing more than 130 voluntary sector providers of disability services, raises concerns that charities are being disproportionately impacted by increasing workforce challenges and that without parity in pay, and more sustainable funding from central government, the risk of cuts to service provision will only increase, leaving disabled people and their families without essential care and support.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, said:
“Social care is on the brink and despite government’s attempt to reform the system, we are still a long way off from recognising the contribution the social care workforce makes to society each and every day.
“Yesterday’s announcement is problematic because pay uplifts are below inflation and VODG stands alongside colleagues in the NHS and other services in calling for a fairer package. However, it is important that social care workers are not left behind. The rising costs of living are placing enormous pressures on essential social care workers and charities are struggling to secure funding from local authorities to raise care worker pay. Research commissioned by VODG member Community Integrated Care, indicates many social care workers would be paid up to 39% more – an additional £7,000 – if they worked in other public funded sectors. This pay gap is simply unacceptable.
“Voluntary sector providers are also being hit by national insurance reform which requires them to find upwards of £134 million in 2022/23 to contribute to the health and social care levy. The full three-year effect allowing for the impact of increased salaries driven by uplifts in the National Living Wage is estimated to be £428million. The reality of this situation is that charities will, on average, need to contribute an extra £20,392 a year in National Insurance payments.
“The health and care levy and uplifts to the national living wage are both urgently needed to support the retention and recruitment of social care staff. We must, however, see a greater proportion of levy funding being made available, immediately, to support the social care workforce. All parts of the NHS and social care should be able to agree on that.
“Today, charities that support disabled people require government to meet the growing inflationary costs with additional grant funding to local authorities and for this to be delivered very quickly into care workers’ pay.
“There is enormous variation in the choices local authorities are making about the fees for services provided by charities. We know from our membership that some local authorities are currently offering no uplifts tantamount to cutting fees at a time when all other costs are rising. Other authorities fair better but even uplifts in the upper ranges of 8 per cent are far removed from the true costs of care.
“Our latest analysis demonstrates that these pressures will only intensify this year and next and without an uplift in pay for social care workers, chief executives are telling us they face the stark reality of how to fill a gap in funding and this, worryingly, is leading to an ongoing ‘hand back’ of services.”
Image depicts Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG.