Homecare workers in Northern Ireland earn lower wages than in Britain
HOMECARE workers in Northern Ireland are paid less than their counterparts in Britain, according to new figures.
Workers who care for older people in their homes in the north earn just £13.70 an hour, compared to £16.78 in Wales, £16.54 in Scotland and £15.75 in Greater London.
The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) said its report "exposes the scale of underfunding" of the sector and is calling on the British government to fund care at a more sustainable level in the forthcoming budget.
It claims councils in Britain and the north's health and social care trusts are "continuing to exploit their dominant purchasing power", leaving many older and disabled people without the support they need to remain independent.
Using data obtained through Freedom of Information requests, it found the average prices paid for homecare in the UK is almost £2 an hour less than UKHCA's Minimum Price for Homecare of £18.01.
UKHCA calculates that the sector needs at least £402 million a year to ensure workers receive the statutory National Living Wage and providers can meet their statutory obligations.
More than 850,000 people are supported so they can live independently in the UK, with homecare services making a "major contribution to the well-being and safety of older and disabled people," UKHCA said.
Report author Colin Angel, said: "The governments of each of the four UK nations need to look at our findings and fund care properly. Continuing to muddle on as they have done for a decade is not sustainable."