Two thirds off all care workers in the UK are paid less than the living wage according to a study which calls for the Government to subsidise higher wages for the 930,000 care workers below that level.
Andrew Grice of The Independent reports that a year-long investigation by the Resolution Foundation think-tank found that paying a living wage to all 1.4 million care workers would cost about £1.4bn a year. But half the spending would be returned to the Exchequer through higher income tax and National Insurance receipts and lower benefit payments.
Such a move would bring other benefits to society, the report argues. Lower staff turnover would cut recruitment costs and reduce the reliance on more expensive agency staff.
Those receiving care would benefit from greater continuity and better quality from a more stable and satisfied workforce.
The living wage is set at £9.15 an hour in London and £7.85 outside the capital.
“It’s hard to see how these employees, whose numbers will increase in future years, will ever be reasonably paid. Many sectors employ workers who may deserve better pay, but won’t get it even though we’re supposed to be a ‘wealthy nation’ – nothing changes!!”
Related post: Care staff lose £130m – bosses refuse to pay for travelling time
One of the main reasons there is such a crisis in hospitals is that a large number of elderly people are occupying beds because they can’t be sent home.
And the reason they can’t is that the home care system is collapsing.
There is terrible pressure on carers which leads to them having almost no time to spend with people in desperate need.
Gillian Demet has turned whistleblower because she thinks what is happening to care needs to be exposed.
She tells how she had just 15 minutes to look after each of her clients – 15 minutes in which she might, typically, have to get someone out of bed, undress them, wash them, dress them, make their breakfast, give it to them – and then dash off to do it all over again. And she worked 14 hours some days for the minimum wage.
Yet Gillian’s main concern isn’t the pressure she was under but the impact on her clients.
Incredibly, her boss at private care firm Sevacare, Ravi Bains, agrees with her about the inadequacy of the service. He says such short visits are unfair on carers and those they are looking after.
Mr Bains is just as forthright in saying where the blame lies – with government cuts.
The amount spent on home care has plummeted by 25 per cent since the coalition came to power and will fall much lower if the Tories win the election.
David Cameron’s big campaign pitch is that we can’t afford to spend more. On the contrary, Prime Minister – we can’t afford to spend so little on some things, with home care at the top of the list.
This is an appalling way to treat the most vulnerable, needy pensioners.
“All of our health and care sectors are in crisis now – what on earth the future holds is anyone’s guess – but be prepared, it looks certain to get worse, if it ever gets better – ‘Care in the Community’, what was that?”
Sunday Mirror. 18/01/2015. P.14