The government can no longer turn a blind eye to the enormity of the social care crisis that is engulfing the vulnerable and elderly in England, and the inadequate pay and conditions of the workers that care for them.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union with 100,000 members in the health service, was commenting on today’s (Monday 7 September) report by the TUC which said that social care spending in England was still £600 million lower than in 2010 when the Tories came to power.

The TUC called for a new funding settlement, ministers to fill the 120,000 existing vacancies in the sector, the ending of zero-hours contracts and all workers to be paid a minimum of £10 per hour.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The government and, society more generally, can no longer turn a blind eye to the enormity of the social care crisis in England.

“Unite strongly supports the TUC report and we would like to see a once-in-a-generation New Deal for social care that gives the elderly, vulnerable and disabled the fully-resourced support they need, and which also properly rewards and respects the contribution of social care staff.

“This crisis has been coming down the track for several decades, however, it was the pandemic that shone a very painful spotlight on the situation in care homes that politicians have ignored for too long.

“Throughout the pandemic our members in social care have contacted us with heart-breaking experiences. Many have suffered in silence, fearful of speaking out against their private sector employers.

“Many have put their lives at risk because they lacked the basic PPE. Testing of these key workers was inadequate and many did not have proper sick pay if and when they had to isolate.

“There can be no justification for continued underfunding and the rampant commercialisation of the sector – how can you factor in profit margins for someone’s health and care?

“Boris Johnson and his ministers need to act now and stop kicking this issue into the long grass – they should swiftly implement the TUC’s recommendations.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

New TUC report: The full report Fixing social care: better quality services and jobs is here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/SocialCareReport.pdf

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.