Raising taxes on wealth and assets could help pay for a pay rise for 78,000 care workers in the North West to at least £10 an hour, according to new research published by the TUC today.
This pay rise would benefit two in five (40.6 per cent) social care workers in the region.
The union body says that increasing Capital Gains Tax – a tax paid on the sale of assets other than your main home – could raise up to £17bn a year and provide much a much-needed boost to care services in the North West and across the UK.
The TUC says that reforming Capital Gains Tax is a much fairer way to fund social care than hiking workers’ and businesses’ national insurance contributions.
The union body says that is “plain wrong” that under current tax arrangements a low-paid social care worker can pay a bigger share of their income to fund the social care system than the private equity magnate who profits from asset-stripping care homes to sell on.
Widespread support for higher pay and better conditions in social care
A new poll of working adults – carried out for the TUC by BritainThinks – shows there is widespread support for improving pay and conditions in the social care sector:
- More than eight in ten (86 per cent) say that improving working conditions for social staff will improve the quality of care services.
- Six in ten (61 per cent) workers earning £50,000 or more say they would be prepared to pay more tax to have better social care services – compared to less than a fifth (17 per cent) who said they wouldn’t.
- A similar number (83 per cent) believe that all care workers should all be paid at least £10 per hour – including over three-quarters (77 per cent) of workers who say they voted Conservative in the 2019 general election.
Urgent action needed to fix social care staffing crisis
The TUC says that urgent action is needed to tackle the staffing crisis in social care, which it describes as the “biggest challenge” facing the sector.
It highlights how, at any one time, the social care sector has approximately 122,000 vacancies with staff retention a huge issue.
The TUC says that endemic low pay and job insecurity are key reasons behind carers leaving the profession.
Analysis by the union body shows that seven out of ten care workers earn less than £10 per hour and that one in four (24 per cent) are employed on zero-hours contracts.
The TUC says the sector will continue to be plagued by staffing shortages unless ministers improve pay and conditions across the board.
A new settlement for social care
Today’s report calls for a new settlement and vision for social care that addresses:
- The need for stronger and more resilient care services that has been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The undervaluing of the care workforce, and the lack of job security and dignity at work.
- The understaffing of care services, and damaging impacts on stretched staff and the quality of care experienced by service users.
The TUC says that there is clear public support for more spending on social care, as well as fairer tax policies that could fund a high-quality National Care Service with decent pay and conditions for staff.
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:
“Our dedicated care workers have helped get us through this crisis. Now it is time we cared for them.
“Every care worker in the North West should be paid a wage they can live on. And that means at least £10 per hour.
“Any plan to fix social care funding must also fix pay for workers in the sector.
“And working people shouldn’t bear the burden of funding social care alone. The prime minister should be asking those who make a fortune from their property and assets to pay a fairer share of tax.
“It is plain wrong that the government’s social care plans will see a low-paid social care worker paying extra to fund the social care system while the private equity magnate who profits from asset-stripping care homes to sell on sees no change.
“It’s time to raise taxes on wealth to fund social care properly and guarantee decent pay for all social care workers.”