28 Oct 2021
by The Homecare Association

Commenting on the Spending Review, Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson said:

"Government’s announcement in the Spending Review is another missed opportunity for adult social care. It fails to acknowledge the value of social care to the economy, contributing an estimated £50.3 billion and providing over 1.5m jobs, of which 735,000 are in homecare. Neither does it offer sustainable support for the workforce, who continue to work tirelessly to ensure older and disabled people can live well at home and flourish in their communities.  

Demand for homecare is rising, and yet more careworkers are leaving and we have more difficulty recruiting than we can ever remember. Our latest Homecare Deficit report shows the number of hours of homecare purchased by public sector organisations has risen by 11% in the United Kingdom overall. Yet only 1 in 8 of public organisations that provided figures were paying an average price at, or above, the Homecare Association’s Minimum Price for Homecare of £21.43 per hour. This is the absolute minimum required to ensure compliance with employment and care regulations, and to operate sustainably. A number of councils are paying scandalously low fee rates, which do not even cover careworkers wages and on-costs, leaving less than nothing to cover the operating costs of a regulated homecare service. 95% of homecare providers are saying that recruitment is harder than before the pandemic, with 78% saying it is the hardest it has ever been. Many are reporting a 75% reduction in job applications since January 2021. This is not sustainable.   

Although the additional £162.5m announced to support workforce capacity will help in the short-term, it amounts to only £100 per member of the care workforce. The extra £1.6bn per year over three years that is going to local Government is also welcome, but there is no guarantee that it will be directed towards social care. If it does, it will all be absorbed in covering the rise in the legal minimum wage, which we know is inadequate to compete with other sectors for scarce labour. Even combined with the Health and Social Care Levy these measures do not go far enough to address the poor pay, terms and conditions of employment which limit growth and development of the workforce to address current and unmet needs.  

Councils report being deluged with requests for help from older and disabled people in the community, which they are unable to support. Meanwhile, NHS trusts are struggling to discharge people from hospital due to lack of capacity in social care and community services. This makes it difficult to reduce waiting lists as swiftly as required, regardless of how much extra funding is poured into the NHS.  

We continue to call on the Government to make additional funding available urgently to enable careworkers to receive wages equivalent to Band 3 healthcare assistants in the NHS with 2+ years’ experience (£21,777 p.a., or £11.14 per hour). We calculate that this will require an additional £1.72 billion per year overall across the United Kingdom.  

It makes little sense to neglect people at home, wait until they reach crisis point, then admit them to the most expensive setting of care in an acute hospital. Here they may lose further function and require even higher levels of support and care when they are discharged back home, or to a care home.  

Greater investment is needed in homecare and community support to grow and develop the workforce and innovate, so we can enable people to live well at home, extend healthy life expectancy, reduce inequalities, take pressure off the NHS and reduce costs for the health and care system.”  



Notes to editors

  • Full link to the Spending Review
  • The Homecare Assocation's Deficit Report can be found here
  • The Homecare Association (formerly United Kingdom Homecare Association, UKHCA) is the UK’s membership body for homecare providers, with over 2,340 members nationally. The Homecare Association’s mission is to work together to ensure that homecare is valued, so that all of us can live well at home and flourish within our communities. The Homecare Association takes the lead in shaping homecare, in collaboration with partners across the care sector, and provides hands-on support and practical tools for its members. As a member-led professional association, the Homecare Association's members agree to abide by the Association's Code of Practice.
  • For further information please contact: Homecare Association Ltd, Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AHTelephone: 020 8661 8165Mobile: 07393 012 113www.homecareassociation.org.uk
  • More than 15 million people at any one time receive or need support and care in their own homes, either from unpaid informal carers or paid-for homecare workers, in contrast to only 0.4 million in care homes and 0.1 million in hospitals. Over 3.4 million hours of state-funded homecare are purchased each week in the United Kingdom, representing 70% of the total. Together with private-pay funded homecare, this enables over 850,000 people per year to be supported at home and to live independently within their local community.