Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has submitted evidence to the Low Pay Commission’s consultation concerning the National Minimum and National Living Wage rates.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Care England is wholly supportive of the National Living Wage and care staff being duly rewarded. Good and fair wages remain a lynchpin in the future sustainability of the adult social care sector. It is however incumbent upon Government to ensure that such increases are reflected in the fees paid to care providers”.
The Low Pay Commission advises the Government on the level of the minimum wage. From 1 April 2020 the NLW increased to £8.72 with a view to more increases in 2021.
In its submission Care England presents both qualitative and quantitative feedback relating to the cost implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the adult social care sector. Given that wage costs are a large part of the adult social care sector’s overall cost base we implore the Low Pay Commission to consider the implications of COVID-19 on the sector and its potential to interact the existing structural realities of the sector.
For too long, the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations in relation to wages have not been matched by adequate government funding to allow the adult social care sector to implement such recommendations in a sustainable manner. Given the sector’s contribution both in this pandemic and more broadly, it is surely incumbent upon the Government to implement a funding system which allows the National Living Wage to be implemented in a sustainable fashion and at the same time ensures the financial sustainability of adult social care providers. Therefore, we would implore the Government to listen to the Low Pay Commission’s own guidance and recognise its own role and responsibility “in the sectors which Government itself funds – social care and childcare – sufficient funding is necessary to meet the cost of the rising NLW.”
Martin Green continues:
“It has become clear that during the pandemic we need further direction from Central Government. There is a huge disconnect between policy announcements from the centre and delivery on the ground”.