Below is a briefing from the Chief Officer of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership. It confirms that it has not been given the funds to meet the 3.3% pay rise pledge made by the Scottish Government – proof that headlines are cheap.
The Evening News deserves great credit for the work it has done in recent years to raise awareness of the social care crisis our capital has been facing. The pandemic has further highlighted, however, just how important social care workers are. Frankly, I think that it is incredible that it took a pandemic for the Scottish Government to offer care workers the living wage – it is the absolute minimum they deserve. The revelation that the service is so underfunded in Scotland’s capital that care workers won’t get the living wage like their counterparts elsewhere is an insult to care staff which should shame us all.
Update (7pm on 14th May 2020) – The Evening News has now spoken to the Scot Gov and Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, and they have said:
“The Scottish Government has agreed to fund the additional costs required to meet this commitment. We are working closely with Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership on delivering the payments and have every expectation that these hard working social care staff will be paid at least the new Real Living Wage of £9.30 backdated to 1 April.”The Scottish Government
“We recognise the importance of compensating health and social care workers suitably for the key roles they undertake. Planning is well underway to implement the 3.3% salary uplift outlined by the Scottish Government in April and we have been working closely with them to finalise the funding arrangements which underpin this commitment.”Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership
I am hopeful that as well as funding the pay rise, the Scottish Government will now fully fund social care provision in Edinburgh.
Many of our providers have been in touch asking what our plans are for implementing the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to fair work and the living wage in adult social care by agreeing a national contractual uplift of 3.3%. As soon as the announcement was made, my team contacted the Scottish Government and we have been working closely with them to finalise the funding arrangements which underpin this commitment.
Here, in Edinburgh, we are extremely conscious of the contribution all heath and social care staff make towards keeping vulnerable people in our city safe and this is more true now than ever. Every day my team and I hear heart-warming examples of the extra mile colleagues in this extended workforce are going to to support people in the most testing circumstances. We therefore recognise the importance of enabling providers to maintain a fair working regime to suitably recompense workers for the key roles they are undertaking.
This desire, however, needs to be set against the financial challenges facing the public sector in Scotland and the rising costs of all services which regularly outstrip the income we receive. For 20/21 we are facing an opening budgetary gap of c£24m and, as yet, have not fully identified how we will meet this. As such, it would be extremely difficult for us to increase this funding gap, which is why agreeing funding with the Scottish Government is so crucial for us. Our calculations show that we would need around a further £5m to fund an across the board increase of 3.3% on all our contracts so I’m sure you will understand our need for assurance.
As soon as we get confirmation from colleagues in the Government we will move quickly to implement.