The introduction of the statutory National Living Wage comes into effect from Friday 1 April 2016, providing workers aged 25 and over with a wage increase from £6.70 to £7.20 per hour.
UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:
“UKHCA supports measures which while the terms and conditions of low-paid workforces. We note that Government’s announcement on the National Living Wage is offset to some degree by changes to employers’ National Insurance contributions. However, due to the age profile of the social care workforce this will not have a significant impact on the cost of homecare.”
As employers, responsibility rests with the homecare providers, to comply with the National Living Wage and ensure that care workers receive the appropriate remuneration.
Colin Angel continued:
“Whilst employers are responsible for meeting the increased cost of the National Living Wage, the vast majority of homecare services are purchased by local councils, who have an extremely poor record of increasing their fees in response. The impact of constrained public spending by councils has been subject to repeated criticism from the Low Pay Commission.
“Indeed, while we believe that the vast majority of councils in England have adopted the 2% council tax precept for adult social care, a significant proportion of councils have failed to advise providers of sufficient rate increases to meet the costs of the National Living Wage.
“Without urgent action from Government and local councils to address the deficit in funding, continued supply of state-funded homecare will become unviable at a time when Government looks to social care services to support an over-stretched NHS, particularly supporting people to leave hospital promptly.
“Market exit by providers would cause considerable distress for people who use homecare services and their families; create a significant burden for local councils who would have to find replacement providers and provide uncertain employment prospects for trained and committed careworkers.”
UKHCA estimates that in order to address the existing under-funding of homecare and implement the National Living Wage, requires an increase of funding of at least £753 million from councils and the NHS in the first year alone.
In recent months UKHCA has been working to ensure that councils in England, Wales, Scotland and the social care trusts in Northern Ireland have received information about the need to ensure their rates enable providers to comply with the National Minimum Wage. We are also providing evidence to the Department of Health where councils in England are using their new powers to increase council tax by 2% for social care, but not increasing rates paid to providers. UKHCA is planning a large-scale Freedom of Information Act enquiry across the UK to check the prices councils and trusts are paying from April onwards.
UKHCA have provided members with information and produced a National Living Wage toolkit to help them understand the regulations. The toolkit is available from: