Tory cuts are having a devastating impact on the social care sector. Cuts to council budgets means cuts to care employees’ pay. On Friday, I joined Unison activists outside Arncliffe Court, a BUPA run Care home in Halewood at the change of shifts to try and recruit workers there into a trades union. The recent Dispatches programme highlighted how employees are exploited at BUPA run homes and illustrates that union membership would be helpful in redressing the balance. Activists from Care Workers for Change and I went to see if we could talk to staff in their place of work but we were denied entry by managers because of “Company policy”. I will be continuing to take action to help with this issue.
The social care sector in this country is under incredible strain. In Liverpool and Knowsley, Government cuts mean that both councils are currently spending more money on adult social care alone than they can raise in council tax. Both are amongst the top five councils hardest hit by Government cuts, and by 2020 Liverpool will have lost 68% of its resource and Knowsley 56%.
For carers, the impact of these cuts is stark. Zero hour contracts mean that they often work overtime that they aren’t paid for, at the same time not being offered the contracted hours they need to make ends meet. Many raised serious concerns about safety and the quality of care that they were able to provide as a result.
When carers struggle because of low pay and insecure work, so do their patients. The Tories can’t be trusted to protect our social care sector. Only a Labour Government would ensure all carers get a fair wage and have the resources they need to provide the best possible care that so many urgently need. That’s why I’m proud to support Care Workers for Change and their fight for dignity in social care.