Social Services: Living Wage

Department of Health written question – answered on 2nd December 2015.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the implementation of the National Living Wage on (a) the financial position of employers in the care sector and (b) the level of employment in that sector.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government has engaged with the care sector, including care providers, to understand the impact on the market arising from amongst other things, local authority commissioning behaviour and the introduction of the National Living Wage. This has included a number of deep dive sessions held with both care home businesses and providers of home care services.

As part of its spending plans for the next four years the Government is giving local authorities access to £3.5 billion of new support for adult social care by 2019/20. Local authorities will be able to introduce a new Social Care Precept, allowing them to increase council tax by 2% above the existing threshold. The Government estimates this could raise nearly £2 billion a year for adult social care by 2019/20.

Councils will need to increase the price they pay for care to cover costs for care providers such as the National Living Wage. To support this, the Social Care Precept puts money raising powers into the hands of local authorities which are best placed to target resources based on their understanding of their local care market.

In terms of the levels of employment in the sector, the Department believes that effective recruitment and retention of a caring and skilled adult social care workforce has a central role to play in delivering high quality care and support to people who need it.

Our challenge is to ensure the workforce has the right number of people to meet the demands of the future, with the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to deliver quality, compassionate care.

DH will continue to work in partnership with delivery partners and key stakeholders to support effective recruitment practices and improved retention of the adult social care workforce.

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