Campaigners in England are calling on the government to match a £500 bonus that the Welsh Government has promised for all care workers in Wales.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakesford announced the £500 bonus for all 64,000 care staff on Friday, saying it recognises these workers as providing the “invisible scaffolding of services”, which support the NHS and wider society.
It comes after the Welsh Government provided an initial £40m extra funding for adult social care services to help meet the extra costs associated with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scottish government also announced last month that all care workers are to be given a 3.3% pay rise in recognition of their role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drakeford said: “I want our social care workforce 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.
“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.”
The Independent Care Group (ICG), which represents independent care providers in York and North Yorkshire, hailed the move a “generous gesture” that recognises the “amazing courage” of social care staff and urged the UK government to do the same for adult social care workers in England.
ICG chair, Mike Padgham said: “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.”
The ICG has previously warned that care providers are being hampered in their fight against Covid-19 through a lack of PPE and insufficient testing.
In a survey of members, some 53% said they had had challenges with testing.
The ICG has also called on the government to provide better financial support for care providers amidst concerns that the £3.2bn pledged for local authorities to help them support social care is not reaching the front line.