Show us the money! Social care charities rage at Scottish Government

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Charities hit out after Scottish Government announces a major social care pay rise but doesn't say who will pay for it

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19th October 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Social care bodies have hit out at the government for promising a £15m annual wage rise to their staff without saying how it will be paid for.

The Scottish Government has announced tens of thousands of social care staff are to get a pay rise to ensure they get the real living wage for all hours worked, not just day-time hours.

The rise would take the rate of pay for overnight shifts up to £8.45 an hour.

It follows a Scottish Governent announcement last year that all social care staff in Scotland, whether employed in the public sector or not, would be paid the living wage.

However, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), which represents Scotland’s biggest third sector social care providers says its members are already stretched to breaking point trying to meet their current living wage commitments.

Its members, which support 380,000 people and employ 40,000 care staff, say local and national government need to increase funding to third sector social care providers to cover public service pay rises.

Making the announcement today, Scottish Government health secretary Shona Robison said: “This will make a real difference to those whose hard work enables thousands of people across Scotland to live with dignity.

“The change will take place during 2018/19. This will provide time for it to be implemented in a way which will ensure continuity of care to individuals.

“The Scottish Government has worked closely with health and social care partnerships, care providers, trade unions, individuals using services and other stakeholders and will continue this engagement as partners begin to redesign sleepover provision.” 

However, CCPS says enforcing this pay rise next year will cost its members a minimum £15m a year and will result in cuts to workers hours and services for vulnerable people.

CCPS director Annie Gunner Logan said: “The announcement says absolutely nothing about the resources required for delivery. The gap between current pay for sleepovers and the living wage is far in excess of anything we’ve tried to address up to this point, but the statement is completely silent on what it will cost, where the money will come from or how it will reach employers.”

In relation to Robison's comments on the redesign of services, Gunner Logan said: “We believe that it is fundamentally dishonest to promise a pay rise to people working sleepover shifts, in the knowledge that these shifts will then be ‘redesigned’, aka. removed or replaced.

“The ramifications for employers, for the workforce and for the people they support have not been properly explored: critically, there is a risk that people’s individual overnight support arrangements will undergo radical changes over which they will have little or no choice and control, in direct opposition to the government’s own flagship policy of self-directed support.”

Earlier this week the Care Inspectorate released a report highlight major recruitment problems in Scotland’s social care sector. It led to calls for an increase in pay for social care workers.

Currently, social care staff who do overnight shifts are paid an allowance and a top up to ensure that all hours worked are paid at least the minumum wage of £7.70. Critics say this undermines the commitment to pay satff the living wage as any staff that do night shifts are in effect paid only the minimum wage.

However, CCPS members say the sector needs a much wider pay review, not just for front-line staff. It argues staff also need career and pay progression opportunities and that implementing blanket pay rises for certain staff will have a knock-on negative effect on terms and conditions for others.