The grassroots organisation Citizens UK leads a rally in Parliament Square immediately after Boris Johnson takes Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Campaigners demanding a Real Living Wage for carers descend on Westminster today.
Analysis by Citizens UK found care workers in England are less likely to be paid the higher, voluntary rate compared with staff in Wales and Scotland.
The study of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows 30.2% of jobs in England’s care sector are paid below the Real Living Wage compared with 25.4% in Wales.
In Scotland it is just 10.3% – yet in London it is 42.3%, in the West Midlands 37.3% and the North West 33.1%.
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The rate paid by organisations accredited with the Living Wage Foundation is £9.90 an hour, rising to £11.05 in London.
In contrast, the legal minimum rate for over-25s across the UK from Friday will be £9.50 through the National Living Wage.
From Friday, the Welsh Government will provide councils and health boards with £43million to implement a Real Living Wage in the care industry.
Citizens UK’s Jessie Singh, a senior care worker from Preston, Lancs, said: “Low pay makes it so difficult to get qualifications, but then you aren’t taken seriously without them.
“That, coupled with ridiculously long hours, leaves care workers feeling they have no choice, with many choosing to leave the sector.
“It’s not right, and a Real Living Wage would help break this cycle.”
Citizens’ Sherrie Bernadetta, a former carer, said: “I’ve seen care workers’ children go without necessities like new school shoes because their parents cannot afford it.
“We need a Real Living Wage for care workers, and we need it now.
“The new Health and Social Care tax is being implemented, and we need to see this reflected in wages.
“The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments are all taking heed of this crisis – why are English care workers being left behind?”
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said providers wanted “a proper remuneration strategy for social care professionals and believe that care workers should be paid well above the living wage”.
He added: “This will only happen when the Government invests enough money into the care sector and comes forward with a long-term training, development and reward strategy for the social care workforce.
“Care England supports the work Citizens UK have been doing to acknowledge the fantastic work that social care professionals do to support people within their communities.”
The Mirror’s Fair Care for All campaign includes a call for workers to get the Real Living Wage.