Wirral MP challenges government’s Health Secretary on care workers’ pay

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16 Jul 2020
Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to fund social care properly to ensure that all care workers earn at least the 'real Living Wage'.

The Wirral West MP was responding to a statement on the coronavirus pandemic in Parliament by the government’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock.  

She highlighted how Wirral Council has led the way in recognising the importance of the work that care workers do by making funding available for providers to pay them the 'real Living Wage' for this financial year.

However, the scheme is not mandatory and not all care homes currently pay it.

The 'real Living Wage' is the voluntary pay rate of £9.30 per hour (£10.75 in London) calculated by leading independent think-tank The Resolution Foundation. It is different from the National Living Wage which is the government-set minimum wage for over 25s, currently standing at £8.72 per hour.

The Resolution Foundation recently proposed that the government should increase social care wages to the 'real Living Wage' as a way to mitigate damage to the labour market as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking after her intervention in Parliament, Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“Care workers do an incredibly important job year round. During the pandemic this has become even more apparent and we have seen many making real personal sacrifices to care for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"I asked the Health Secretary to commit to paying care workers at least the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour because I believe that care workers should be paid properly for the work that they do.

“Wirral Council is leading by example on this by offering additional funding to care providers to pay their staff the Real Living Wage, and many have done so.

“Rather than agreeing to increase the wages of care workers, the Health Secretary started talking about the Living Wage instead, which is simply the government’s minimum wage. This confused matters and did not answer the question at all. 

“I was disappointed that the Health Secretary chose to answer the question in this way and will be writing to him to ask him the question again.

“The Conservative Government has taken £7.7 billion out of adult social care budgets since 2010, and the care sector faces real challenges.

“The government should recognise this and it should fund social care properly to ensure that all care workers earn at least the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour.”

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