Government must use Spending Review to help care providers pay the Living Wage, says Carers Trust
Care providers risk having to close down or reduce their services when the new Living Wage comes into force next year, Carers Trust has warned the government in their submission to the 2015 spending review.
The charity has urged the government to use this November’s spending announcement to increase the funding given to councils for social care. They warn that a failure to do so could lead to valued care services being unable to stay in business, leaving older and disabled people without the care and support they trust.
Research by the charity has found that five in seven of their care providers are so concerned by the impact the new Living Wage will have on their finances that they fear it could force them to close-down unless they receive additional funds. Six in seven of their providers also said that it could force them to scale-back the support they offer to carers.
Dr Moira Fraser, Director of Policy and Research at Carers Trust, said:
“Care support staff deserve to be paid well for the vital job they do in supporting disabled and older people, their carers and families. That’s why Carers Trust welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of a new compulsory national Living Wage.
“However, this commitment has to be matched by increased funding for the councils that are supporting care providers. Otherwise, as our own research shows, we will witness a large scale breakdown of the care market as high quality providers are driven out of business, meaning people who need high quality care will be less and less able to find it.”
The publication of Carers Trust’s submission comes after research by the UK Homecare Association found that councils will need an additional £753 million in order to meet the new national Living Wage of £7.20 when it comes into effect next April.
Carers Trust spending review submission also urges the government to:
Increase the overall level of funding for social care so that councils no longer face a £4.3 billion funding gap by 2020
Conduct an audit of local councils to ensure they have the funding necessary to implement the new Care Act and Children and Families Act.
Ring-fence funds for carer-specific support and carer breaks under the Better Care Fund.
Extend the Pupil Premium to cover young carers.
Add young adult carers to the vulnerable bursary criteria.