A regional body is asking its members what they expect the impact of the National Living Wage to be amidst fears it could damage the care of older and vulnerable adults in North Yorkshire and York.
The Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) is surveying its members on how they expect to be affected by the wage increase when it comes in next month.
The National Living Wage will see the minimum pay for staff aged over 25 rise to £7.20 an hour – the current national minimum wage is £6.70.
The Independent Care Group fears this could have an impact on care providers who are currently struggling.
“The amount of money local authorities and the NHS pay our members to provide care has never been sufficient to pay care workers as well as we would like,” said the group’s chair, Mike Padgham.
“The last six years, which has seen more than £5bn cut from social care budgets, has exacerbated the problem and social care providers are suffering, with care homes closing and home care providers going to the wall.
“We support the introduction of the National Living Wage because all workers, especially those working hard in social care, deserve to be paid fairly.
“But unless local authorities, the NHS and ultimately the Government, find a way to properly fund social care so that providers can pay their staff what they deserve, the National Living Wage could well be a further hardship for already hard-pressed care providers and might be the final straw for some.
“It is only through carrying out a survey like this that we will get a true picture of the impact providers expect the National Living Wage to have on them and we would urge all of our members to complete it before the 18th March deadline.”
Results will be published at the end of March.