MPs criticise scale of care worker low pay

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CONCERN that endemic low pay in the care industry could impact on efforts to improve standards, has been expressed by MPs.

A new report calls on the Government to make sure that proper safeguards on quality are in place and that pressures on costs do not put care providers out of business.

The MPs said they were “astonished” at evidence that up to 220,000 care workers earn less than minimum wage “and seemingly little has been done to rectify this” as well as around one third being on zero-hours contracts.

“Local authorities’ cost savings have been achieved by paying lower fees to providers, which has led to very low pay for the care workforce, low skill levels within the workforce, and inevitably poorer levels of service to users,” they said.

The Public Accounts Committee of MPs said councils had responded to an eight per cent cut in funding for social care by focusing on those most in need at the expense of preventative measures. Their report also expresses doubts about whether ambitious plans to overhaul social care can be delivered alongside significant funding cuts.

“New duties are being introduced as local authority budgets become increasingly constrained with many local authorities already cutting their social care budgets.

“The [Government] departments neither understand the scale of some of these challenges nor how much it will cost to implement the changes.”

The report published today says that more than two million people have given up work to care for a relative leading to extra costs on the Government’s benefits bill.