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Responding to Skills for Care’s annual report published today, Hugh Alderwick, Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said: 

‘Today's report is yet another signal of a social care system on its knees. Staff vacancies in social care in England increased by a record 52% last year, with 1 in 10 posts vacant. Care providers are facing a huge struggle to recruit staff and many people are going without the care they need. 

‘These problems reflect political choices. Sustained underfunding by central government has contributed to unacceptable pay and conditions for people working in the sector, leaving care providers struggling to compete with other employers. Social care workers play a vital role in society but are among the lowest paid, with 4 in 5 of all jobs in England paying more than the average hourly wage for independent sector care workers. 

‘Low pay and poor conditions contribute to severe financial hardship among social care staff. New Health Foundation analysis finds that 1 in 5 residential care workers in the UK were living in poverty before the cost-of-living crisis, compared to 1 in 8 of all workers. 

‘Increasing pay in social care must be a political priority. Making it happen will require significant additional investment and action to ensure funding reaches staff. A mix of policy options should be considered – such as introducing a sector-specific wage for social care – as part of a comprehensive plan for growing and supporting the care workforce. A fully funded ‘people plan’ for social care is now long overdue.’

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
020 7664 4647 / 07941 156 827

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