Hft has highlighted that social care staff are being commissioned at significantly lower rates of pay, compared to local authorities, and the Whitehall departments responsible for social care policy.

The evidence gathered by Hft formed its submission to the Low Pay Commission’s annual consultation on the impact of the National Living Wage in the 2018/19 financial year.

The charity’s evidence included answers to Parliamentary Written questions submitted by Wera Hobhouse MP, which revealed that the lowest paid staff in relevant Whitehall departments were paid at significantly higher hourly rates than most social care staff.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government paid its staff £13.16 per hour in London and £11.30p/h nationally. At the Department of Health and Social Care, staff were paid at £11.61 p/h in Inner London and £9.41 nationally. Meanwhile, social care was typically commissioned at the National Living Wage of £7.83 p/h.

Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Hft, commented:

“Our research highlights the unfairness of the enforced low pay model that social care currently operates under. While social care is legislated to be commissioned at the National Living Wage, the Whitehall departments responsible for deciding and implementing social care policy are paying their own staff at significantly higher per-hour rates.

“This enforced low-pay model is having a detrimental effect on the sector. According to our yearly Sector Pulse Check report, 80% of providers in the social care sector cited low pay as their biggest challenge when it comes to recruitment and retention.

“Annual increases in the National Living are, of course, welcome as they see our hardworking staff paid more for the valuable work that they do. However, if the government is serious about making social care a valued and viable career, it needs to do more to address low pay within the sector. This includes providing local authorities with adequate funding to commission social care at a higher, more competitive wage rates.”

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, commented:

“Workers in the social care sector truly are the backbone of our welfare state. I fully support Hft in their work highlighting the financial challenges that workers face. If we are to look after the most vulnerable in our society properly, we need to incentivise those who do it with more than warm words. The sector can’t recruit and retain good staff for difficult jobs if those staff can barely make ends meet. The government must start putting significant amounts of money back in to local authorities, and give communities the resources to look after their vulnerable residents.”

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About Hft

Hft is a UK charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance