Page 13 - Unfair To Care 2024 - Who Cares Wins
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This report is the third in the Unfair To Care series, launched in 2020. It focuses on the 1.52 million people in the adult social care paid workforce in England3, whilst also drawing insights from Scotland’s workforce of around 135,000 workers4.
The edition uses average pay data from the National Care Forum’s national pay benchmarking exercise of the not-for-profit sector. This demonstrates that the average rate of pay for social care workers in England (outside of London) is £10.93 per hour.
This is £1.07 per hour less than the current Real Living Wage of £125, at the time of publication, and only marginally higher (51p) than the National Living Wage – the legal minimum rate of pay for workers aged over 23 in England.
There are estimates of 100,000 people in England employed as Personal Assistants – representing around 6.5% of the adult social care workforce6. These colleagues, who are usually employed directly by the individual and funded through direct payments or personal budgets, rather than employed by a provider of care services, are a vital part of the social care sector.
The 2021 census7 shows that 1.4 million people
in England provided 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week and a total of 5 million people provide unpaid care each year, 59% of whom are women. This is the equivalent of a second NHS and is estimated to have a value of £162 billion.
Carers UK8 research goes further, suggesting this is an underestimate and that there may be as many as 10.6 million unpaid carers in the UK. It is evident that the health and social care system is completely reliant on support provided by unpaid carers. This report highlights, on many occasions, the impact of a lack of social care provision on family carers – including exclusive polling data exploring this theme in detail.
Support for increasing the pay of frontline care and support staff inevitably raises questions about how this will be funded. This report describes the multiple benefits and financial returns to be gained from investing in fair pay – spending in social care cannot be viewed simply
as a cost, as there are so many tangible and measurable financial gains to be made. However, the options for raising additional funds to invest in the social care system or to reduce the cost of care to individuals are outside its scope.
Successive governments have considered, implemented, or deferred various alternatives for raising the funds to pay for social care, including income tax, national insurance, wealth tax, council tax, tailored care levies, and thresholds and caps on care costs. The next government will need
to resolve the debate on which option to raise more funding for social care after the 2024 General Election.
This report demonstrates that social care is an economically positive investment that pays off in many areas – including reducing demands on public services, increasing productivity, and creating significant direct, induced, and indirect value. Unfair To Care highlights the significant scope to offset costs by driving greater innovation, integration, and sustainability.
The report includes a comparison with the position in Scotland, where the Scottish government has developed proposals for, and has made progress towards, a National Care Service. Scotland has a defined minimum rate of pay for adult social care workers in commissioned services, which is £10.90 per hour. This is set to rise to £12.00 per hour from April 2024 – mirroring the Real Living Wage.
In July 2023, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers
in Scotland (CCPS) reported that their average workforce turnover was 25%, an increase of 5.5% in the year prior.9
Whilst this report is built upon an intensive analysis of the skills, capabilities, and accountabilities of frontline Support Workers in professional social care organisations, many of the principles of this report are directly relevant to Personal Assistants too.
Unfair To Care clearly demonstrates that there is a significant pay gap between people who deliver social care and their equivalents in other sectors, such as the NHS. The same turbulence and tragedy created by a lack of pay parity for colleagues working in
social care organisations is felt in the lives of Personal Assistants and the people who employ them.
Any future care workforce pay framework and development strategy must address the pay, contribution, and circumstances of Personal Assistants too.
4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9.
‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’, Skills for Care, October 2023
‘The Adult Social Care Workforce in Scotland’, Scottish Government, June 2022
‘Personal assistants in England and the factors associated with absenteeism’, Frontiers in Public Health, October 2022
‘Unpaid care, England and Wales: Census 2021’, Office for National Statistics, January 2023
‘Make Caring Visible, Valued and Supported: Carers Week 2022 report’, Carers Week, June 2022
‘Staffing crisis in social care’, Coalition of Care and
Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), July 2023

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