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Low pay is driving tens of thousands of workers out of social care, report warns

LOW pay is driving tens of thousands of workers out of social care, a report warned today.

The Community Integrated Care charity said that staff in the sector are paid a third less than their NHS counterparts.

It argued that they need a 36 per cent wage increase — equivalent to £7,617 a year — and noted that there are currently 152,000 vacancies for care workers.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) backed the report and accused successive governments of “strangling NHS-commissioned services of funding” and slashing local authorities’ budgets by over half between 2011 and 2021.

Claire Sutton of the nurses’ union said: “Chronic underfunding, growing demand and uncompetitive pay is driving a devastating workforce crisis which sees 150,000 posts lay vacant, with almost three in 10 leaving their jobs every year.”

She called for “pay parity for care workers, secure conditions and sustained government investment in social care.”

The charity’s report cites a poll finding that 70 per cent of the public believe social care workers should be paid the same as their NHS equivalents.

It also found that 77 per cent of MPs recognise that social-care workers are not paid fairly and 80 per cent agree that the next government must act to improve pay, terms and conditions in the sector.

The report said: “As we enter a pivotal election year, we believe social care will be a determining issue in how the public approach the ballot box. 

“There is a potential 2.6 million-strong ‘social care vote’ which could be a critical factor in the outcome of the 2024 general election.”

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