The 19p national living wage rise is a ‘kick in the teeth’, says social care worker

The 19p increase in the national living wage has been described as a “kick in the teeth” by one social care worker, who said the rise would be “swallowed up” by cost of living increases.

The support worker from Wales, who works with adults with learning disabilities, said she and her colleagues felt “forgotten” by the spending review.

She works for a private company, that was once under a registered charity, and said she felt more focus was given to NHS workers, rather than wider healthcare staff.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Especially through this pandemic – everything seemed centred around the NHS and in my mind still is.

“We need more financial support without a doubt as they are cutting hours of care given to the bone, and the likes of day centres that offered some alternative care during the day are being shut or being told to reduce what they call ‘social hours’.”

She said her workload has become “much tougher” during the health crisis with service users not allowed to see family or friends which “makes behaviours worse as they don’t understand”.

She added: “For the amount of responsibilities we have it’s still a kick in the teeth.

“We are responsible for giving medication, including rescue epilepsy treatment, we cook, clean, launder, we do all personal care, we look after finances, we also shop for them and are responsible for end of life care.”

She said many care workers were now looking to work in retail, where the pay is “slightly higher but the responsibility is less”.

The Government has been accused of letting down millions of workers with the announcements of new rates for the national living wage.

The statutory rate will increase by 2.2% from £8.72 to £8.91 next April and will be extended to 23 and 24 year olds for the first time.

The Low Pay Commission had previously proposed a figure of £9.21 an hour.

Vic Rayner (pictured) executive director of the National Care Forum said: “Millions of people are affected by the provision of social care.

“If that doesn’t feel like something that should be valued in a spending review purporting to be about what the people want, then I am at a loss to work out what is.

“The small increase in the national living wage comes nowhere near the level of recognition we need for care workers – these are the same people that the government has clapped and praised and yet when the moment comes to recognise those staff and help employers to reward those staff – the silence is resounding.”

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