Care firms’ plea for ex­tra cash to meet min­i­mum pay rise

Daily Express - - News - By Giles Sheldrick Chief Re­porter

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.

Short­fall

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.”

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