A coalition of five former health ministers has called on the government to raise care workers’ wages.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham (pictured), Sir Norman Lamb, Phil Hope, Alistair Burt and Paul Burstow, are supporting calls for the government to provide £3.9bn to lift care workers’ salaries, The Guardian reported.
The group, known as the new Future Social Care Coalition, said: “We are concerned, as infections increase, that there will be even greater pressure on the care sector. To make matters worse, the substantial level of vacancies is causing real problems. Social care staff look after some of the most vulnerable members of our society, yet half the 1.6 million workforce earn less than the real living wage and some do not have secure contracts.”
The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the social care workforce with 268 workers dying during its peak between March and May.
The Health and Social Care Committee, chaired by former Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, last month issued a call for an annual £7bn increase in social care funding to avoid market collapse along with a 10-year plan, including an NHS style people plan.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know there is a need for a long-term solution for social care and are looking at a range of proposals as part of our commitment to bringing forward a plan that puts the sector on a sustainable footing for the future.
“As part of our pandemic response we have given £4.6 billion to councils in England so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. Future funding for adult social care will be set out at the Spending Review.”