April 18, 2023
Comment: The days of ‘jam tomorrow’ promises on social care in this country are over. It’s time to act
It should be a national scandal that government after government, whether in Holyrood or Westminster, has kicked decisions on investing in social care and support down the road, over and over again, writes CCPS’s CEO Rachel Cackett.
I’ve been listening to the First Minister’s speech to parliament this afternoon with a growing sense of frustration and anger. It should be a national scandal that government after government, whether in Holyrood or Westminster, has kicked decisions on investing in social care and support down the road, over and over again.
Today was no exception. £12 per hour aspired to, but only for those working with adults. A delivery timetable on pay promised, with no clear dates. No indication of how hoped-for investment in frontline staff will support career progression for good people doing good and essential work to support our neighbours, our families, our friends.
The Scottish Government keeps telling us there is no money to meet their own commitment to Fair Work in Social Care – to close the outrageous 20% pay gap between NHS support workers and third sector social care support workers who are starting out in their career. But I would note that we often hear this in the same breath as money is magically found for other sectors, often in the face of actual or threatened strike action.
So, again, staff in social care fall behind. And providers struggle to recruit. And they struggle to keep staff who need to make ends meet for their own families. And politicians wonder why Scotland faces persistent health inequalities, under-attainment, poverty, unbearable pressure on our NHS….
So, this is our call to this government: Value social care’s contribution to the people and the economy of Scotland. Pay all staff properly and fairly for the work they do. Stop skewing the health and social care labour market by knowingly baking in inequities. And stop expecting charitable providers to shoulder the financial consequences of poorly thought-out and implemented national policy on social care investment.
Our First Minister could start by doing this in three, practical steps:
- Implement a Scottish Social Care Living Wage right now by committing to a 2023-24 social care uplift for ALL staff, to an hourly rate of at least £12.
- Pay all uplifts on 100% contract value to ensure employers can invest in all their staff fairly.
- Publish a three-year timetable by the next Programme for Government to deliver Fair Work in Social Care through parity of pay and key terms & conditions.
CCPS has detailed to the government repeatedly the unintended consequence of its approach on the future of social care in this country. We hear every day from providers about the truly difficult decisions they are having to make. The days of ‘jam tomorrow’ promises are gone. It really is time to act.