Care England and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services (ADASS) have said more social care funding is needed to help providers shoulder the cost of a higher National Living Wage (NLW).
The organisations issued separate calls for additional funds following last week’s announcement that the NLW would rise by 6.2% in April to £8.72.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: “Good and fair wages remain a lynchpin in the future sustainability of the adult social care sector. So too does the delivery of quality care to some of society’s most in need, but is in incumbent upon government to ensure that such increases in the National Living Wage are reflected in the fees paid to care providers who are supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people.”
Care England cited a recent report by the Low Pay Commission which states that government must take responsibility for the delivery of the increased wages in sectors, such as social care, where it is the main source of funding. The representative body added that the delivery of social care funding was radically different from other parts of the economy and must therefore be treated accordingly.
Green added: “If government fails to support this uplift then services may close, jobs will be lost and support to people in need will be reduced at a time when more people need social care. The social care system has endured chronic underfunding for many years and we call upon the government to fund not only the increases in the Living Wage, but the sector’s long term sustainability.”
Julie Ogley (pictured), president of ADASS, said her organisation welcomes an increase in wages for the lowest paid workers, but added that the government will “clearly need” to fund this “significant commitment” and adjust the funding available to the local government and social care accordingly.
“If Government does not provide additional funding, then this will further destabilise already fragile care markets with a clear impact on those of us who need care and support,” she added.
“Prior to this announcement, our autumn survey found that nearly all Directors (94%) say that have little or no confidence that they will be able to deliver their statutory responsibilities for care market sustainability by the end of 2020/21. Any further hole in the finances would make the task even more difficult.”
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has also warned that the increase in the Living Wage should be accompanied by greater support for those providing publicly-funded care.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told our sister title, Care Home Professional: “We are providing councils with access to an additional £1.5bn for adults and children’s social care next year to help meet rising demand and cost pressures and stabilise the social care system.
“We are determined to find a long-term solution to the challenges in social care to ensure every person is treated with dignity and offered the security they deserve. We will seek to build cross-party consensus and will outline next steps shortly.”