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Recruitment in home care has probably never been more difficult.

Driven by Brexit, rate inflation in other industries, residual fear of Covid – all of these factors are playing a part but fundamentally the rates of pay in the industry have been far too low, for far too long.

The market for home care is dominated by local authority purchasing. They represent a monopsony.

The price per hour is therefore being kept artificially low, and therefore pay for workers is correspondingly low. One authority has recently cut its rates, to £15.65 per hour. A half hour service, which is the norm, is therefore priced at £7.83.

Assuming travel time of 10 minutes, holiday pay, sick pay, pensions and national insurance, a provider will not be able to pay even minimum wage and still make sufficient margin to cover office overheads.

The Boris Johnson solution to labour shortages, from lorry drivers to hospitality, is to allow wages to rise to the level necessary to recruit and keep staff.

Fine – then let our industry do that, but give local authorities much more funding so that prices can rise – not by 2 or 3%, but by 30%.

We in the industry will train our staff. We will “upskill” them. We will make them more productive – we can take on a lot of the work done by district nurses for instance.

𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐝.

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