The government must guarantee that all care workers are paid “at least” the real living wage, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has urged.
Rayner, who was a previously home care worker and represented social care workers as a shop steward and trade union official, said it was “unconscionable” that the average wage for a care worker is just £8.10 an hour, while half don’t earn the real living wage.
She attacked the government for “empty gestures” that “don’t pay the rent or put the food on the table”.
The grilling comes after Boris Johnson failed to answer when asked by Rayner how much a care worker earns per hour during her debut at Prime Minister’s Questions (pictured).
Labour has demanded that the Prime Minister publish his promised plan to fix the crisis in social care and that plan must guarantee that all social workers are paid at least the real living wage, set by the Living Wage Foundation as £9.30 an hour across the UK, rising to £10.75 in London.
Writing before Labour’s online-only annual conference over the weekend, she said: “On his first day in office the Prime Minister promised to fix the crisis in social care with a plan he said he had already prepared. Now it turns out that it won’t be published until next year.
“He must publish his plan to fix the crisis in social care without any more delays, and that plan must guarantee all care workers are paid at least the real living wage.
Rayner challenged Johnson to follow lockdown “warm words” with meaningful change for the sector.
“It was a moral outrage before this pandemic that the average wage for a care worker is a little over £8 an hour and half don’t even earn the real living wage, but now it is unconscionable,” she said.
“The Prime Minister and government Ministers have fallen over themselves to clap for our carers and offer them warm words, but applause and empty gestures don’t pay the rent or put the food on the table.
“We can’t clap our key workers and then abandon them. We can’t go back to business as usual, where the very same people who have helped to get our country through this crisis are still underpaid and undervalued.
“After all their sacrifice and bravery, the very least that our care workers deserve is a pay rise.”
The UKHCA has previously warned that costs incurred by home care providers due to the coronavirus pandemic equate to an extra £3.95 per hour of home care delivered, but many councils are failing to pay care providers enough to even cover the rise of the National Living Wage that came into effect on April 1.
Key drivers of rising costs related to COVID-19 are PPE and staffing – sick pay and over time – with extra costs including transport, training, remote working and IT being “collectively significant”.