Care England has warned the Government of a “mounting workforce crisis” ahead of the introduction of the new National Living Wage (NLW) in April.
The representative body said social care was being “attacked from multiple sides” due to the rise in the NLW and inability to recruit from overseas due to new migration proposals, which are expected to be announced tomorrow.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “It is likely that there will be additional indirect costs associated with the rise in the National Living Wage if employers provide similar pay rises to workers already paid above £8.72 in order to maintain pay differentials between experienced and new staff, job roles or competitors. This shortfall needs to be recognised by commissioners and met or services will go under.”
A study by Skills for Care has found that increasing the pay of workers directly affected by the new NLW rate will raise the wage bill of the adult social care sector by an estimated £375m-£400m per year, or £250m-£300m more than the wage bill would have increased if the NLW had risen in line with inflation.
Care England said fee uplifts of under 4% had failed to keep up with changes in the NLW.
The Low Pay Commission has recommended that sectors such as adult social care, which rely heavily on public funding, should be given assistance with NLW rises.