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Women’s group calls for Scottish care worker pay to rise to £15+/hr for transformative change

Care home workers’ pay needs to rise of £15.21 an hour to achieve “transformative change” in care homes, new research states.

Increased investment in the sector, particularly in the form of higher wages, would also be a significant step towards addressing embedded gender inequalities in pay and employment, given the largely  female nature of the social care workforce.

The briefing by the Scottish Women’s Budget Group, Towards A Transformative Universal Adult Social Care Support Service For Scotland, calls for greater investment in social care. It includes two prospective scenarios – a core scenario, and transformative change.

In the core scenario, the briefing assumes an increase in coverage of about 20 per cent to address current unmet need, extending free social care to all types, and raising pay to £12.50 an hour. This results in an estimated investment of approximately £5.1bn per year, an increase £1.56bn above the current levels of investment, approximately 20,000 new jobs, as well as an estimated return of £500mn in tax revenues, equivalent to 34 per cent of the additional investment.

For the transformative change option, pay would increase to £15.21 per hour, stated to be equivalent to Nordic levels in relation to nurses’ pay. It would also make care more accessible to people who require moderate support. Overall investment would reach £6.82bn a year, almost double current levels, creating 75,000 new jobs, and an estimated £1.5bn return in tax revenues, about 46 per cent of the additional investment.

The SWBG argues that care should be at the forefront of the recovery from both the pandemic and cost of living crisis. Additional funding necessary to pursue this investment would require significant political will, backed up by potential additional forms of revenue, possibly including granting substantive borrowing powers to the Scottish Parliament.


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