Eight in 10 people back a pay increase for care workers

The overwhelming majority of people back increased investment in social care to fund a pay rise for care workers, according to a new survey.

The new Survation poll commissioned by Citizens UK found 82% of those surveyed backed the idea.

On the subject of the fairest way to fund such an investment in social care, half of all respondents said they preferred taxes on wealth paid by either individuals or companies (49%).

A ring-fenced tax for social care paid across the population (28%) was second choice and council tax increases to fund care locally (5%) was the least popular choice.

It comes as a new analysis of Skills for Care Data has found three-in-four care worker roles in England were paid below the real Living Wage on the eve of the pandemic.

The analysis for the Living Wage Foundation found huge levels of low pay across the social care sector in England right before the pandemic hit – with almost every social care job in low-paying areas like Havering, Bexley and Redcar and Cleveland being paid under the real Living Wage during 2019/20.

In 20 of the 32 London boroughs, nine in 10 care workers were receiving below the London Living Wage. Across England, 604,168 of 832,393 Care Worker roles (73%) were paid less than the independently calculated rate, set by the Living Wage Foundation. 

‘Care workers are battling a rising tide of high rents, growing bills and a heavy workload,’ said Citizens UK’s executive director, Matthew Bolton.

‘We’re appealing to Boris Johnson’s government and social care providers to do the right thing and make the investment needed to pay care workers the real living wage.’

The assistant general secretary of the trade union Unison, Christina McAnea said it was clear from the survey that there’s overwhelming public support for a pay rise for care staff. 

‘These workers do a skilled job looking after the elderly and disabled people. But many struggle on poverty wages despite their dedication during the pandemic,’ she added.

‘It’s time the government showed they valued care employees by ending poverty wages. Every worker should be on the real living wage as a bare minimum. This would help improve care and attract much-needed new recruits.’

Earlier this month, a new cross-party alliance, the Future Social Care Coalition called a fair wage deal for low​-paid staff.

Andy Burnham, Sir Norman Lamb, and Alistair Burt​ are among several former ministers who have joined the new group, which represents an unprecedented collaboration between organisations and individuals.

Photo Credit – Chronomarchie (Pixabay)

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