Ed Davey calls for higher pay for health and social care workers

Ed Davey used his first interview of the year on Laura Kuenssberg’s Sunday show to call for an increase in pay for health and social care workers to keep people working in the sector, which is currently in crisis. He is calling for at least an extra £2 per hour to be added to the minimum wage for care workers. This would be paid for by asking the gambling industry to pay more tax.

Lib Dem research found that a staggering 1 in 7 UK adults say they’ve had to stay at home to look after a relative over the last 12 months due to a lack of care workers.

The survey reveals millions have had to step in to look after a loved one due to a lack of professional carers in their area. A further 1 in 5 (22%)  of UK adults say either they or someone else they know have paid for a private carer to look after a relative.

The party says that the proposals would tackle soaring staff vacancies in the care sector. There are currently a staggering 165,000 vacancies in social care, up 55,000 since last year, with 1 in 9 frontline care jobs vacant. These chronic staff shortages are leading to patients being left stuck in hospital waiting for social care, contributing to record-breaking waits in A&E and dangerous ambulance handover delays.

The crisis has been worsened by many care home workers leaving for better paid jobs in other sectors. New analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that the typical weekly salary of care and home workers is currently £447, compared to £468 for those working in hospitality, £477 for supermarket workers and £485 for those working in retail.

Ed said:

Thousands of people are stranded in hospital beds because there simply aren’t enough care workers to look after them at home or in a care home.

The first step to fixing this mess is to pay those working in social care more, to prevent the exodus of workers to supermarkets and other better paid jobs.

This is a skilled and crucial job and it should be paid more.

He said that this policy was targeted not just at paying carers properly, but at helping the NHS to ensure that people were able to be discharged into care homes.

He added that he is making good on his promise to be the voice of carers and highlighted what a brilliant job they do. He talked about his own experience as a carer for his wife, son and mother.

Challenged by Kuenssberg about our flatlining national poll ratings, Ed pointed to real elections in real ballot boxes, including our 3 by-election victories and local elections gains. He highlighted that we had more gains in 2022’s local elections than any other party.

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4 Comments

  • Steve Trevethan 5th Feb '23 - 1:26pm

    Might it help contributions to provide fair pay for health and care workers if we visibly worked to outlaw tax havens?
    Might such fairness policies improve or ratings?

  • John Littler 6th Feb '23 - 12:01am

    I don’t see why the minimum wage can’t be raised for everyone. At the very least it needs to be regionalised and raised a lot in London and the South, where costs are higher. Of course poorer areas need more money to be spent there but they would have employers who would struggle to pay.

    The Tories opposed the introduction of a minimum wage, suggesting that it would cause an economic landslide but it’s introduction was completely free of macroeconomic problems.

    There might be exemptions for charity work.

  • Ruth Bright 6th Feb '23 - 11:10am

    Carers’ charities say that 2 out of 3 of us are carers or can expect to be carers in our lifetime but it is pretty humbling to think that Ed Davey, and others like him, have experienced being a family carer through three generations.

  • Peter Watson 6th Feb '23 - 3:18pm

    “Challenged by Kuenssberg about our flatlining national poll ratings, Ed pointed to real elections in real ballot boxes, including our 3 by-election victories …”
    It will be interesting to see how the by-election strategy scales to a national General Election in order to compensate for continued lousy national polling.

    The approach appears to have involved flooding the constituencies with activists from all over the country, something which would obviously be challenging with more than a small number of targets.

    And equally obviously, presenting a national message is very different to customising a local one, which in the case of Chesham & Amersham at least, seemed to involve opposing the party’s own policies on HS2 and the need to build more homes!

    I’m expecting to see very narrow targeting, as the party appears to have little or no interest (in England, anyway) in raising its profile outside the “Blue Wall”.

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