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by Margaret Taylor
05 October 2021
Care workers get pay rise as part of £300m investment in health services

Care workers get pay rise as part of £300m investment in health services

Social care workers are to see their pay lifted to £10.02 an hour as part of a £300m package of investments announced by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

Yousaf, who was updating parliament on his winter plan for health and social care, said the measure will cost a total of £48m this financial year and is part of the government’s “continued commitment to deliver fair work in the sector”.

It comes after Yousaf’s predecessor Jeane Freeman announced in March that social care workers would see their pay rise to at least £9.50 an hour – the equivalent of the Real Living Wage. The government provided £64.5m to fund that increase.

The Scottish Greens, who signed a co-operation agreement with the SNP-led government earlier this year, welcomed the most recent move, saying it “shows we are working for Scotland”.

“The Scottish Greens' co-operation deal with the Scottish Government included fair work progress for the social care workforce as a priority, so I am pleased to see swift action to ensure they get more than the living wage,” said the party’s health spokesperson Gillian Mackay.

However, Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for health, social care and equalities, criticised the uplift, saying it will not go far enough to help with the retention of staff. At their recent conference Labour members backed a motion in favour of making minimum pay £15 an hour, which is the level Baillie said the health secretary should have settled on for care workers.

Calling Yousaf’s entire announcement a “sticking plaster for much more profound problems”, Baillie said “the social care uplift for staff is insufficient.

“Working the till at Aldi pays more,” she said. “You need to pay £15 an hour.”

Elsewhere, Yousaf said the NHS was “under more pressure than at any time” and would remain on an emergency standing until “at least 31 March next year”. He said the full £300m package of investments would help maximise capacity, attend to staff wellbeing, ensure system flow and improve outcomes. The overall aim, he said, is to “support and protect health and social care services this winter”.

As part of package, funding is being made available to recruit 1,000 additional health and social care staff as well as 200 registered nurses from overseas.

A further £40m will be spent on moving people from hospitals to care homes for the final part of their recovery. The purpose of that measure is to free up hospital beds by speeding up discharges and Yousaf said there would be “no financial liability for the individual or their family towards the cost”.

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