Homecare Association calls for £2bn per year to address home care deficit

The Homecare Association has called on the government to invest an additional £2 billion each year to address the underfunding of home care services.

In its Homecare Deficit report, the body revealed only 5% of UK public organisations are paying the minimum price for home care as per its calculations.  

The Homecare Association said a prolonged lack of government funding has increased the occurrence and risks of poor workforce experience, higher staff turnover, increased unmet need, poor quality care and reduced sustainability of services.

The report shows public bodies are paying an average of 25-35% below the amount needed to pay care workers a fair wage of £12.45, equivalent to NHS Band 3 workers with over two years’ experience.

Only 5% paid the minimum price for home care based on a care worker receiving the National Living Wage of £10.42 per hour in England and the Real Living Wage in the devolved administrations.

The report argues it should be unlawful for public bodies to purchase care at fee rates which do not enable compliance with employment and care regulations and called for the government to immediately invest £2 billion annually to cover the home care deficit.

Chief executive of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Cathie Williams said: “We agree with the Homecare Association that care workers need to be paid fairly and valued for their work in line with similar roles in the NHS. To achieve this, we are calling on the government ahead of the Autumn Statement to commit an extra £300 million to adult social care, to enable councils and providers to recruit and retain staff this winter. In the long term, we need a long term fully funded plan for social care, to ensure frontline care workers are paid fairly (at least NHS band 3) so that they can deliver the care and support we expect for ourselves and our families.”

A new ADASS report published today reveals council budgets under huge pressure with at least a third of adult social care leaders in England needing to find another £83.7 million of cuts as we head into winter, on top of the £806 million in savings directors across England committed to make in their budgets this year.

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “This report further highlights many of the factors that need to be addressed in order to improve social care service, which is why ahead of the Autumn Statement councils are calling for funding to enable improvement in pay, conditions and career development opportunities for the frontline care workforce and substantial new investment to help tackle unmet and under-met need through an expansion of provision.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are grateful for all the work that home care providers and their staff do, as part of our wider social care sector. That is which is why we are providing up to £8.1 billion of additional funding over two years to support the sector – putting it on a stronger footing for the future and addressing workforce pressures.

“The Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund (MSIF) and the MSIF Workforce Fund – backed by nearly £2 billion – include a focus on workforce pay and will allow local authorities to make improvements to adult social care services.

“We have also invested £250 million in workforce reform through our People at The Heart of Care plan, which will boost progression opportunities, and encourage take up of professional qualifications along with learning and development.”

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