Claire Sugden, Independent Assembly Candidate for East Londonderry has said she is ‘concerned’ about the impact that the new Living Wage will have on Social Care Workers
Miss Sugden said : “I am concerned about the impact of the increased living wage on social care workers. This is an issue which I raised many months ago when a rise in Living Wage was announced.
Independent home care providers ensure that people who are in need receive care which enables them to stay in their own homes and remain independent. This is invaluable to many people and to the health service.
Many care staff are paid minimum wage to provide care which is often round the clock because the hourly tariffs paid by the Health Service to providers are unjustifiably low. They receive an hourly average rate of under £12; the lowest in the UK.
Minimum wage belittles the job that care staff do. With the rise in National Loving Wage from April many providers are facing stark financial barriers to increasing this. Several have told me that if they increase wages whilst the tariffs they receive stay the same they may go out of business.
The market is at risk of failing if the Executive don’t act to provide financial support to our social care sector. This is an issue which I have lobbied the Minister on many times and will continue to do so in the new mandate after May.
The provision of home care is not optional, it is vital for many elderly and very ill people. If home care is the direction in which the Department say they want our health system to go, they must provide adequate financial support for it.”