A piece here from today’s Guardian newspaper about the benefits to thousands of low paid workers in the social care sector of the recent rise in the national minimum wage. It is now called the ‘Living Wage’, which typically reflects the highly political nature of the policies of former UK finance minister George Osborne. His policy was simply a decent rise in the minimum wage, but of course he had to rename it. The name was stolen from those campaigning for an even higher minimum wage which would ensure that its recipients had enough income to live on.
There were fears that the level of the new Living Wage would damage the care sector in particular, which employs a huge number of low paid workers. But the new research suggests this has not come to pass. The pay bill has apparently risen by nearly 7%, and there has been some compression of wages at the bottom of the pay scale in the sector.
It should be noted that the majority of local councils commissioning social care have raised the fees they pay to providers so that the overall impact on society is partly redistributive, away from taxpayers and towards the low paid. But overall it represents a significant positive change.