Fast-growing care provider Radis says the added cost burden of the new living wage, when it is introduced next April, could see domiciliary care providers forced out of business and older and vulnerable people left without care.
Radis is seeking urgent talks with Government, local authorities and NHS commissioners over the consequences of the new living wage. And it is calling on the Government to properly address the funding of social care in this autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Assessment, to avert an impending crisis.
It is also urging people to press their local MPs on what is being done to help social care.
The new National Living Wage will see workers aged over 25 earn a minimum of £7.20 from April next year.
Radis has written to all the local authorities it provides homecare services for, warning them that the new National Living Wage will have a major impact.
Spokesman Mike Padgham said: “As a forward-looking and progressive employer, Radis prides itself on valuing its staff and recognising the huge contribution they make to our success. We welcome the Government’s desire to provide better pay for care workers, indeed we are spearheading a campaign within the sector to stamp out low pay amongst providers.
“But the level of the new National Living Wage and the speed at which it is being introduced is bound to hit the sector hard and for some care providers, could be a tipping point.
“Unless it is properly funded, there is a very serious risk of catastrophic failure within domiciliary care.”
In its letter to local authorities, Radis says social care has been under-funded for a generation with the situation exacerbated by the recent economic downturn, which has seen £4.6bn cut from adult social care budgets since 2009-10 and a further £1.1bn to be cut in the coming year.
The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) estimates that to address this existing under-funding of social care and implement the National Living Wage will require an increase of at least £753m from councils and the NHS in the first year alone.