UKHCA

United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Living Wage and the homecare sector - 02/11/2014

United Kingdom Homecare Association, the professional association for employers delivering home-based social care, welcomes the work to promote the Living Wage and the London Living Wage.

Improving low wages in the UK is important work. Recognising the essential services that homecare workers deliver to people in vulnerable situations is vital, and has a positive impact on recruitment and retention of highly dedicated, skilled and caring individuals in our sector.

We congratulate all those employers who strive to meet and exceed the prevailing Living Wage rates and we acknowledge the commitment of a growing number of councils working with care providers to improve the terms and conditions of local workers.

However, longstanding and increasingly aggressive cost-cutting measures by many councils, who purchase the vast majority of homecare services, continue to place extreme pressure on homecare providers, many of which are already struggling to keep ahead of the National Minimum Wage.

There is an increasing disconnect between councils making political claims to support the principles of the Living Wage, whilst paying rates to providers which make it impossible for providers to do so. In addition, we are concerned that a large number of councils have not considered the need to include careworkers’ travel time as part of ‘working time’, effectively calculating a ‘living wage’ at below the correct rate.

UKHCA’s updated “Minimum Price for Homecare” calculates the hourly rates councils should pay to providers in order to comply with the new Minimum Wage and the UK and London living wages (note 6), as follows:

• £15.74 for National Minimum Wage
• £18.59 for UK Living Wage
• £21.33 for London Living Wage

These calculations will inform many councils of the significant discrepancy between their aspirations and reality. In February 2014, an investigation by BBC Radio 4's File on 4 programme, found the average minimum rate paid by councils was just £12.26 an hour (note 7).

UKHCA’s Chief Executive, Bridget Warr, said:

“Living Wage Week offers an exceptional opportunity for open and frank discussion about the status of low-paid work in society and the vital role of the homecare workforce in helping people to stay independent and safe in their own homes.

“We call on central and local government, employers and workforce representatives to work collaboratively with us to improve the current constrained environment in which social care is delivered.”

Ends.

Notes for editors

1. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community. We do this by campaigning, and through leadership and support to social care providers.

3. UKHCA has a vetting procedure for its members, all of whom agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Practice, which can be found at www.ukhca.co.uk/codeofpractice.aspx.

4. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.

5. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.

6. UKHCA’s Minimum Price for Homecare is available from www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=434. Version 2.0 provides calculations for the 2014-15 National Minimum Wage and the 2013-14 Living Wages. An updated edition (version 2.1) was released on Monday, 3rd November 2014, once the new living wage rates had been announced.

7. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26021026.

8. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?id=109.

9. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.

10. For further information please contact:

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993
E-mail: media@ukhca.co.uk
Website: www.ukhca.co.uk 

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