The director of a new Scottish home care provider is calling on the government to administer additional financial support for businesses in the sector that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Gavin Bryce, of East Lothian-based U Homecare, believes better sector-specific funding should be provided for those working in health and social care, similar to the packages made available to those in hospitality and tourism, to support the delivery of vital community social care services.
Bryce, who founded U Homecare in April 2020, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, said: “At a time when other businesses were being offered COVID support grants and loan schemes, we were just trying to get things off the ground, and we weren’t eligible for any support.
“As a newly formed company, we were unable to get access to overdraft facilities or bank loans, which made it very difficult to operate from a cash flow point of view.
“We had problems sourcing uniforms for staff because many suppliers had to halt production as a result of the pandemic, and even those who were still operating were reluctant to offer us finance as we were a new company, which meant we had to outlay a lot of cash up front to place orders for many vital items required as a social care provider.”
U Homecare employs over 50 people across East Lothian, providing care and support for elderly people in their own homes.
Bryce continued: “The social care sector has been under-funded for a long time, years before COVID hit. The pandemic has simply highlighted and exacerbated lots of issues which were already there. The services we provide are critically important, and even more so as we continue to battle this pandemic.
“We’ve all been out clapping for our carers, which was a fantastic gesture, but it’s time for the government to put their money where their mouth is and offer greater financial support to these vital workers.
“It’s absolutely fair that other industries such as hospitality have been given tailored support, but it’s completely unjust that the care sector hasn’t been treated the same way. It send a very negative message that the Government doesn’t value the sector or its workers.”