Campaigners in England have called on the government to match a £500 bonus that has been pledged to carers in Wales.
The bonus for the 64,000 care workers in Wales was announced by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakesford in recognition of the “greater degree of risk” they had accepted.
The First Minister said: “Tens of thousands of people work in social care in Wales, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and are doing so with great dedication in often challenging circumstances.
“They are undertaking tasks, which involve a high level of intimate personal care, often accepting a greater degree of risk and responsibility. Many of our social care workers are juggling their own personal caring responsibilities with their professional ones.
“I want our social care workforce to know their hard work is both appreciated and recognised. This payment is designed to provide some further recognition of the value we attach to everything they are doing to – it recognises this group of people are providing the invisible scaffolding of services, which support both our NHS and our wider society.”
Independent Care Group (ICG) chair Mike Padgham, called for the same show of recognition for England’s carers.
Mike said: “This is a very generous gesture by the Welsh government and it recognises the amazing courage that social care staff are showing as they look after older and vulnerable people during coronavirus.
“We very much hope that the English government will follow suit and provide a bonus for all the social care staff facing the same risks and doing an amazing job here in England.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The 1.5 million people who make up the paid social care workforce, together with 5 million unpaid carers, provide an invaluable service to the nation – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable in our society, and as this pandemic has made clear, we as a nation are indebted to their selfless dedication.
“Care workers, caterers, cleaners, nurses, occupational therapists, personal assistants, registered managers, social workers, and others, all have a critical role to play to ensure that people’s needs are met during this crisis.”