Page 5 - Unfair To Care 2024 - Who Cares Wins
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The gap is even more stark when compared to
everyday commercial roles, which do not mirror the
size, complexity, and accountability of care work. Retail assistants working in Aldi earn a minimum £12.95 per hour, with regional and long-service entitlements. The average rate of pay for delivery drivers is £12.85, with many posts offering long-service and localised rates that significantly extend this. The minimum pay at Amazon is £13.20 – with a scale that goes far beyond this entry point.
Of course, this report represents a snapshot in time. Pay rates across sectors – including social care – will change, with rises in the National Living Wage and evolving conditions in the job market. One thing is clear, though – a pay gap between the shared health and social care systems and
a lack of connectivity with relatable roles in the wider economy will perpetuate our challenges.
If we cannot keep pace with our peers, or even simpler, readily available roles in other sectors, what hope do we have for stability?
Yes, social care is an incredibly vocationally rewarding career. I am privileged to work with thousands of people who live their dream of enabling others
to live theirs. But against the joy is real despair too – people working tirelessly yet still need the support of food banks, friends, or family. People on a tightrope of debt or being one ordinary life shock away from personal disaster. Things must change and the public is behind us.
In exclusive public polling with YouGov, we can reveal that 70% of adults in England believe that social care workers should earn the same as their NHS equivalents and that 87% believe that the shortage of care workers is an important issue for society. Tragically, 80% of people who have contact with social care, either through drawing on it directly or as a loved one, say that these shortages have impacted them in a negative way.
The endemic nature of these problems means that
the public is aware, engaged, and motivated for change. More than half of the population – 53% – say that they will have a more favourable view of political parties that address the issues of low pay.
Remarkably, only 2% of people express that
they would have a less favourable view if pay is improved. We can see that society recognises the need for change, and, increasingly, the public have formed strong views on this matter.
2024 is, of course, an electoral year. This report not only presents the context and case for fair pay, but also the reality that it can be a determining issue in how the public approaches the ballot box. There is a potential 2.6 million strong ‘social care vote’, which could have a decisive impact on key marginal constituencies.
Excitingly, we see scope for political change too. In first of its kind polling with YouGov, we can reveal that the majority
of MPs – 77% of the surveyed audience – recognise that the current rate of pay for social care workers is unfair, with 80% believing that the next government should act to improve pay and terms and conditions for social care workers. This is driven by a strong consensus amongst MPs, with 92% recognising that social care pressures are an important issue for their constituents.
This sentiment has cross-nation support. This report’s polling of Members of the Scottish Parliament reveals that 89% feel there should be no difference in pay between an NHS worker or social care worker if they are doing jobs that have equivalent skills, complexity, and responsibilities.
The message is clear: who cares wins. The public, social care workers, people who draw on social care, care providers, communities, and organisations of many forms, are united in the view that all political parties must act.
Improving social care pay is an investment that will deliver the ‘Social Care Triple Win’ of:
Better lives for people who deliver and draw on social care
Cost-effective and sustainable care and health services
Economic growth and productivity
This report shares our suggestion of the foundational steps needed to make this a reality. Change is possible and millions of people are calling for action. We hope that this report, which has been generously supported by so many of our partners, helps to bring this forward.
Best wishes,

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