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Nearly Half of England’s Care Workers Earn Less Than Real Living Wage

Nearly half of England’s care workers earn less than a real living wage, a study by the IPPR for the Living Wage Foundation reveals. In London, 80% of care workers fall below the living wage threshold. Calls for wage increases have been made as advocates stress the necessity of better pay for a sustainable care workforce.
A recent study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) for the Living Wage Foundation found that 43% of care workers in England, around 400,000 workers, earn less than £12 an hour, the required amount to cover living costs.

In London, the situation is worse, with 80% of care workers earning below £13.15, the London living wage.

In contrast, social care workers in Scotland and Wales earn at least the real living wage.

The high job vacancy rates (about 10%) and high turnover rates in England’s social care sector have prompted campaigners, such as Matthew Bolton of Citizens UK, to call for all care workers in England to receive at least the real living wage.

The cost of implementing this wage increase is estimated to be £415 million, with a net cost to the government of £330 million after factoring in new income tax and national insurance revenues.

Local authorities, including leaders from Liverpool, Dorset, and eight London boroughs, have urged the UK government to ensure better wages for care workers.

Simon Bottery of the King’s Fund and Nina Hemmings of the Nuffield Trust emphasize that improving social care pay should be part of a broader workforce strategy.

The issue is expected to feature in several election manifestos, with the Liberal Democrats already pledging a carer’s minimum wage set £2 above the standard minimum wage.

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