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Care home association rebuts claims it held back wage rise

Consumers Feel The Pinch With Christmas Around The Corner

Barnsley Independent Care Home Association (BICHA) has hit out at claims that it withheld a wage rise for its workers.

The association, which represents 36 care homes in Barnsley, said it had not received the additional council funds to make the payment and was also having to deal with the lowest payments in the area.

A BICHA spokesman said: “The truth of the matter is we have never received this money – we were expected to pay it out of a rate that Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) has arbitrarily decided upon.

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“Whatever his intentions, the announcement made by council leader, Sir Stephen Houghton, about the additional money for care workers failed to grasp the reality of the situation – that the council is already the lowest fee payer in the region and putting an extra stress on the operators could seriously jeopardise the future of the industry.

“Our association and all our members are committed to provide exceptional care to all our residents and the best possible wages to all our valued employees but the fact remains that it is BMBC which is not recognising the actual cost of administering care and it is their lack of funding that has resulted in this situation.”

The association said it had been unsuccessfully trying to meet BMBC throughout this year to discuss local authority payments to care homes.

It said the amount paid by the council was substantially lower than the surrounding Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford and Doncaster rates.

The BICHA said it was shocked when the local authority put its Excellence in Programme in place, which includes an extra £1 for care workers from April, without consultation.

It added that although the council offered an uplift for the wage rise, this was from the basic fee that was already in contention.

Additionally, BICHA said that by offering the wage hike only to care workers the move would undermine the contribution of ancillary staff, including domestics and chefs.

A council spokesperson said: “Barnsley Council remains committed to a payment of £9.72 for front line care workers. The funds for this have been offered to care home providers following negotiations which took place in March 2020. Those providers who have accepted the proposals are now receiving the increased weekly fee rate and the offer remains open to all other care home providers.”

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The author Lee Peart

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