Care firms’ plea for extra cash to meet minimum pay rise
CAMPAIGNERS yesterday called for greater financial help for firms struggling to provide publicly funded social care.
They welcomed plans to increase the living wage but warned that the sector required wholesale reform if providers are to be able to afford the rise.
The national living wage will increase by 6.2 per cent to £8.72 for over-25s from April. There are also plans to increase it for under-25s.
Social care experts said the rise would benefit low paid but pile further pressure on businesses such as care homes and begged for help in reducing overheads and costs.
Mike Padgham, chairman of The Independent Care Grou, which represents providers across the UK, said: “These increases are very good news for lower paid workers and we would like to see rates of pay even higher.
“However, we have to add the caveat that these increases will add further pressure, especially to those who are providing publicly funded care. It will also increase prices for those paying for their own care.
“The Government will need to better fund local authorities so that they can, in turn, increase their fees to providers to allow for increased wages, otherwise it will just heap greater pressure on those already struggling to survive.”
He added: “In an ideal world everyone across social care
would like to pay their staff more but they all need greater support to be able to meet the demands of increased wages and all the other pressures providers face.”
There are now thought to be around 1.5 million people with unmet social care needs who struggle to carry out basic daily tasks like eating, washing, getting in and out of bed or getting dressed.
In 2017 the figure was 1.2 million, which rose from 1.04 million in 2015. In 2014 just 900,000 over-65s had unmet needs.The Local Government Association said since 2010 councils have had to bridge a £6billion funding shortfall just to keep the adult social care system going. It estimates adult
social care services face a £3.5billion funding gap by 2025 just to maintain existing standards.
Campaigners say the Government – which has pledged to increase health service funding by £33.4billion by 2023/24 – needs to address the way local authorities are funded so they can in turn increase their fees to providers to allow for a wage boost.
A Daily Express inquiry has previously exposed how a chaotic and unregulated industry has seen carers poorly paid and working excess hours.
Karolina Gerlich, chief executive of the National Association of Care and Support Workers, said: “It is a painful reality so many are still being paid only the minimum or living wage for such highly skilled work.”