Today the Chancellor announced a pay increase for nurses and doctors. However, there is no specific mention of recognising and rewarding the contribution of the 1,000,000 care workers who have protected and supported disabled and elderly people. Details are lacking at this stage, but if we are to assume that carers are included in those public sector workers who will get a meagre £250 ‘pay rise’ (which, given the choice of language in the announcement, is unlikely), then rather than recognising their contribution, this gesture is demeaning and insulting.
We call on the Chancellor to make amends to this bleak situation by offering a real-terms pay rise to keyworkers who are on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Carers are already chronically underpaid and undervalued. Many have sacrificed their time, health – both mental and physical – and even, in some cases, their lives to keep those we love safe.
What’s more, unpaid carers have been completely overlooked. Their contribution, sacrifice and hard work is essential to millions of people, whilst saving the Government billions of pounds every year. There is no doubt that during COVID-19, their value has been even greater. Many unpaid carers live in poverty with those they support because they are unable to work due to their responsibilities and receive inadequate financial support from the Government. Unpaid carers should be seen as the key workers that they are and supported as such.
The Disability Union calls on Rishi Sunak to put forward a financial package of support that recognises and values carers, paid and unpaid, for the vital key workers that they are. This must contain the guarantee of real-terms pay rises for key workers and to create a pathway to recompense unpaid carers with at least the minimum wage.
About The Disability Union: The ambition of The Disability Union is to build a truly inclusive world. They believe that inclusion is a human right, which is why they work day in, day out to protect and enhance the lives of disabled people across the United Kingdom.
‘The union is the idea of disabled campaigner George Baker, whose ambition is to create “the first democratic and campaigning union which fights for disabled people in the workplace, in the social care system and in society at large” ’ – John Pring (Disability News Service).
To learn more about The Disability Union, click here.
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