Response to letter from care home providers on National Living Wage

20 August 2015

In response to the letter from care home providers to the chancellor regarding the impact of the new National Living Wage, Clare Pelham, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability, said:

‘As the country’s largest voluntary sector provider of social care for disabled people, we welcome the chancellor’s plan to introduce a new National Living Wage. A living wage care sector is something we have campaigned for, and this announcement is significant step towards making care a career people aspire to. Care workers are no less essential than nurses, paramedics and teachers, and, like these other professionals, they deserve a fair wage for the difficult and challenging work they do.

‘However, we agree with the providers who have spoken out this morning. This pay rise carries an additional £1.3 billion price tag for social care — a sector that has faced nearly £5 billion worth of real term funding reductions over the past five years. Without additional funding, meeting the cost of this pay rise will mean that providers have less money to invest in supporting disabled people. As a result we will inevitably see declining quality across the system, and in some places, declining safety.

‘This is not just a challenge for councils and care providers. It is especially challenging for the more than 70,000 disabled people directly employing their own care staff on very tight budgets, who will have to meet the cost of two pay rises for their staff in less than six months. For many disabled people this will mean they will pay more, for less care — limiting their independence, and in some cases risking their safety.

‘I believe George Osborne will do the right thing, and put this right in the Spending Review.’