Carers for the elderly are paid less in the North West than any other region in the UK, and the average funding per hour in Greater Manchester is 20% below the living wage requirements, stats reveal.
The report by the UK Homecare Association puts the minimum requirement for providing care for the elderly at £15.74 per hour, but the Manchester average totals a paltry £12.41 – the second lowest in the UK.
The report also recommended that authorities must pay a rate which is consistent with National Minimum Wage and additional costs incurred by providers should be figured into the prices that the authorities pay.
This news comes just weeks after The Resolution Foundation found that 160,000 care workers across the UK are paid less than the minimum wage.
Although ultimately funded by local council social services departments, homecare is generally a service delivered by independent providers.
Colin Angel, Policy Director for UKHCA, the professional association for more than 2,000 home care providers across the UK, warned that paying low prices for homecare can lead to a number of very serious problems in delivery.
He said: “Unless this underfunding is addressed, the independent and voluntary sector will continue to struggle to recruit and retain care workers with the right disposition, training and qualifications.
“The low prices can also lead to poor terms and conditions for the workforce, insufficient resources to organise the service and insufficient training for the complex work that supports the increasingly frail and disabled individuals who qualify for state-funded support.
“Ultimately, the care market will become commercially unsustainable for the providers who deliver most of the homecare purchased by the state within the UK.”
The report backs up findings from The Resolution Foundation who revealed in February that Laura Gardiner, a social care expert from the foundation, said: “If we want a quality, sustainable social care system then we’re going to have to pay the workers better.”
In an interview with MM last month Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams also bemoaned the lack of funding for care for the elderly.
She said: “Since 2010, £2.7billion has been cut from budgets that pay for adult social care while the number of older people needing care has increased.
“The result is that the system is close to collapse, with some elderly people receiving just 15 minute visits and care by a workforce that is undervalued.”
Image courtesy of the Ed Yourdon, with thanks.