Page 18 - Unfair-To-Care-22-23-Flipbook
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This counterintuitive picture of bad news disguised
as good news can be seen in the break, for the first time in five years, from National Living Wage pay rise patterns. For half a decade, pay rises for frontline social care workers in the not-for-profit sector have directly correlated with the same percentage rises in the National Living Wage. This year, for the first time, we have seen change as sector pay has risen by 8.2% compared to National Living Wage increase of 6.6%14.
This initial cause for celebration is actually a cause for deep concern. As social care vacancies hit their highest level since records began in 2012 and inflation drives increases in competitor sectors, care providers are desperately providing whatever increases they can to try to stem their attrition rates. However, there has been no dedicated injection of public funding to meet these rises in pay – instead, in many cases, organisations are depleting their financial reserves, an ultimately unsustainable action. Many care providers are keeping today’s problems at bay by pulling their only emergency lever.
The social care sector is unique in that it, largely, has one main funder – local authorities. Unlike central Government, which funds the NHS, local authorities cannot borrow
to finance day-to-day spending and they must deliver balanced budgets or utilise their reserves. Local authorities have faced enormous financial pressures for years and must now absorb £2.4 billion in extra cost pressures
as a result of inflation, energy costs, and rises in the National Living Wage15. This has all conspired to make meeting the challenges of low pay impossible for them.
As a result, providers are facing a catch-22 problem,
where they cannot secure extra funding for pay but must provide some uplifts in a bid to recruit and retain, as the
pay rates in other industries race ahead and inflation
rises. Hft’s 2022 Social Care Pulse Check found that 80%
of providers believe local authority fees cannot fully cover wages. This presents a bleak picture when combined with information from a recent financial impact assessment, commissioned by members of the CQC Market Oversight Scheme, which saw all provider CEOs surveyed expressing their belief that there will be an acceleration of unsustainable contracts being handed back to local authorities16.
As we will demonstrate in this report, the shockwaves of these challenges are being felt by people who draw upon support and their families, as well as frontline workers, whilst also destabilising the overall health and care system.
14. NCF: The Social Care Reward: Pay, Terms and Conditions 2022-23
15. Local Government Association – June 2022
16. Learning Disability and Autism Social Care providers Financial Impact Assessment by Cordis Bright – October 2022

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