We’d all like to afford to pay the living wage

Posted on October 6th, by geoff in CT blog. 1 Comment

By Guest Blogger LEON SMITH

Executive vice president, Nightingale Hammerson

One of the bullet point headlines from the Labour Party Conference was the proposal to raise, over a period of time, the minimum wage to £8.00 per hour. This is a laudable aspiration, as is the goal of paying everybody a minimum living wage, which in London is currently £8.80 per hour.

Achieving £8.00 per hour should be within the achievable capability of many corporate employers and indeed it is likely that with index-linked inflation increases the reality is that the minimum wage will not be far short of £8.00 per hour anyway, within the timescale identified by Mr Milliband and his team.

It is still, of course, not totally clear how providers in the care sector are going be able to arrive at a situation whereby they can afford to increase pay; and indeed to achieve the living wage. In stating that there is inadequate local authority funding, one is simply sounding like a chipped record (is this still an appropriate analogy – can one have a chipped download?) Yet as it is, many providers, both commercial and voluntary, struggle to exist with the frequently artificially low local authority rates which they as commissioners are prepared to pay.

How are we to increase wage rates for our hourly paid workers either to reach or exceed RPI, on an annual basis, if the local authorities will not play ball? As we all know, the true value of local authority support, through a lack of index linking is in many cases being eroded year on year.

We need to go forwards, not backwards and there needs to be a reality check for commissioners, particularly in the London area, for the situation not to deteriorate further.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

One response to “We’d all like to afford to pay the living wage”

  1. What must be especially frustrating to providers and commissioners alike is the continuing apparent inability of those making policy pronouncements to join the dots, i.e to acknowledge the link between cuts to local authority budgets with and decreasing fee levels for social care – a situation which ends up degrading all involved, not least the people receiving services. As the prospect of further cuts hoves into view, it may be that providers will increasingly rely on the courts (e.g. as in the recent Abbeyfield case) to obtain reasonable fee levels that would enable them to pay the living wage in the first place.

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