Social care plan ‘ignores’ staffing crisis

Social care is haemorraging workers due to poor pay and conditions but the government's new plan to save the sector offers no answers.

3 Dec 2021| News

The government’s new white paper on social care reform has been widely criticised for ignoring the years’-long staffing crisis propelled by poor pay and conditions.

Just £500m of the £5.4bn carved out for social care reform over the next three years will go towards ‘workforce development’, which one expert told The Independent equates to just £150 per person. Further, this fund is geared towards training and qualifications and is not intended to improve pay or conditions.

“The sector is in the grasp of a deepening workforce crisis, losing as many as 42,000 staff in the last six months, but with no proposals to significantly address low pay, the strategy to tackle these urgent challenges remains uncertain,” Deputy Director of Policy for the think tank, The Nuffield Trust, Natasha Curry, said.

Unison’s General Secretary, Christina McAnea, said care workers will feel “unfuriated and insulted” by the plans, which do “nothing to address the fundamental problems of a sector on the brink”.

“There’s no solution to pressing staff shortages or poverty pay for care workers. Nor does it tackle the money leaking out of care into the pockets of wealthy shareholders or make the system easier to navigate,” she said.

“Voices across the sector were united in calling for major reform and offering to work with ministers to deliver it. But the government has ignored unions, employers, care charities and all the others saying a bold, ambitious plan is needed.”