Finance chief predicts pay rise for social care staff

A leading expert on local government finance has predicted that pay for social care workers will need to go up once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Speaking yesterday (27 April) in front of a committee of MPs, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Rob Whiteman said he was ‘in no doubt’ that care worker pay will need to go up ‘for the market conditions that exist’.

But Mr Whiteman questioned whether councils would have the resources to cover such a pay rise.

‘They will have to make more money available to providers,’ he told the housing, communities and local government select committee.

‘They will have to make more money available to staff, and they will need the resources to do that. I think in Scotland this has been looked at already in terms in terms of care worker pay, but in England so far, all they get is a badge.’

Earlier this month, the Resolution Foundation claimed more than half of frontline care workers are earning less than the real Living Wage.

A report by think tank said that ensuring all workers receive at least the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour outside London and £10.75 inside the capital should have been a ‘priority long before any of us had heard of coronavirus or clapped on a Thursday evening’.

Speaking at the committee, Mr Whiteman admitted that if pay and costs go up, then it could ‘make the position worse for councils’.

‘I think we have to have a grown-up conversation about this,’ he added. ‘Where realistically costs are going to go up? It will be disastrous if they’re not covered, so how are they going to be covered?’

Also appearing in front of the committee was the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Julie Ogley, who told MPs the sector ‘entered this crisis on a shaky platform in terms of the funding of social care’ and added ‘that’s not abated’.

‘The conversation so far has shown that care workers provide such excellent care, but are some of the most underpaid colleagues in the workforce and aren’t really recognised in terms of their input,’ said Ms Ogley.

‘They’re regarded as being unskilled, because they don’t have a professional qualification.

‘I would say that they are very skilled. It is just that there isn’t that professional qualification and I think they’ve shown the absolute value that that social care has in the fabric of our society, in terms of helping to keep the most vulnerable members of our communities safe.’

Photo Credit – Stu (Pixabay)

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