I absolutely agree.
The careworker who contacted me described how careworkers feel that they have no voice and no respect. Is it any wonder that more than 900 careworkers leave their job every day? The way that this crisis is being handled is utterly disgraceful, and the Government have missed opportunity after opportunity to put things right. How can we expect the care sector to function, given all this uncertainty?
After years of continued mismanagement, the careworkers’ back pay bill is due in November. The reality is that the Government have never paid local authorities enough money to allow them to provide sleep-in shifts at the national minimum wage. We know from sector surveys that care providers cannot afford to pick up the Government’s tab. If they are made to do so, some will close and some will hand back contracts, leaving the vulnerable people they support to find new carers and local authorities to struggle further. Some will be forced to cut the additional services they provide, such as those that help disabled people live more independent lives. Blackpool has already seen one care provider close. We do not have long until we start seeing the effects across the UK. It is vulnerable people and low-paid carers who will suffer.
The Government have had three years to get to this point, so where are their proposals for safeguarding the viability of the care sector? I ask the Government please not to wait any longer. The careworkers deserve better, the providers deserve better, and the citizens of this country deserve better.