Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has welcomed the new National Living Wage rates announced by the Government last week.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Good and fair wages remain a lynchpin in the future sustainability of the adult social care sector. So too does the delivery of quality care to some of society’s most in need, but is in incumbent upon Government to ensure that such increases in the National Living Wage are reflected in the fees paid to care providers who are supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people”.
Set to be introduced from April 2020 the National Living Wage (NLW) will increase by 6.2% to £8.82 per hour whilst the National Minimum Wage for younger workers, 21-24 year olds, will increase from 6.5% from £7.70 to £8.20 per hour. For workers aged 18 and below there will be a 4.6% increase from £4.35 to £4.55 per hour and apprentices will see their wages rise from 6.4% from £3.90 to £4.15 per hour. Furthermore the Chancellor will seek to expand the reach of the NLW to cover workers aged 23 and over from April 2021 and to those aged 21 and over within five years.
The Low Pay Commission has itself said in its 2019 report [i] that Government must take responsibility for the delivery of the increased in sectors, such as social care, where it is the main source of funding. The delivery of social care funding is radically different from other parts of the economy and must therefore be treated accordingly.
Martin Green continues:
“If Government fails to support this uplift then services may close, jobs will be lost and support to people in need will be reduced at a time when more people need social care. The social care system has endured chronic underfunding for many years and we call upon the Government to fund not only the increases in the living wage, but the sector’s long term sustainability”.