‘Save our social care’: Dimensions equal pay petition, backed by over 76,000 people, handed into No.10 Downing Street

On Tuesday 19th September we led a cross-party march to No.10 Downing Street to hand in our petition calling for government to align minimum care worker pay to NHS Band 3 – a plea supported by over 76,000 members of the public.

Damian Green MP, Richard Foord Liberal Democrats MP, Paul Blomfield, Labour MP and Zack Polanski, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, joined Dimensions’ Chief Executive Rachael Dodgson, support workers, people supported and members of the Dimensions Council to deliver the petition and urge government to give social care the recognition it so urgently needs.

Across the UK, care and support workers are earning below the Real Living Wage. Meanwhile, In the past three years, a typical sales assistant has gone from earning 13 pence per hour less than a care and support worker to 21p more. This shift is having a huge impact on people’s career choices. Low pay is driving people out of essential careers in social care, leading to around 152,000 social care vacancies today, with many people who require social care not receiving it.

Dimensions’ petition launched in May this year, alongside research showing that 80% of the public thinks social care is as important or deserves the same respect as the NHS. NHS Band 3 includes clinical support workers, therapy assistants, pharmacy assistants, administrative workers, and clerical staff, who are currently paid £11.67 per hour. The vast support for the petition reflects the belief that social care workers’ skills and professionalism should be recognised at an equal level with these important roles.

The petition was handed in by three people we support, Vivek, Chelsea, and Barbara together with our CEO, Rachael  Dodgson, and National Union Convenor, Helen Couchman. All proudly wore their t-shirts conveying the message: Equal Pay With The NHS.

Rachael Dodgson, Chief Executive of Dimensions, says:

“It is incredibly encouraging to see the country unite behind our cause and recognise the vast importance of our social care workforce and the difference they make to the people they support.

“Every day, thousands of social care and support workers undertake complex delegated nursing tasks and support people to make choices and gain control over their life. They maintain family relationships, help with friendships, support with employment and personal care. They are skilled, professional workers.”

“While other sectors have seen pay rise after pay rise, social care has been left behind. If this continues for much longer, not only will the people who rely on our support be impacted, but the NHS will also slow to a halt.

“Increasing social care pay isn’t just a case of rewarding hard work, but will support recruitment and retention efforts at a time when the sector is under immense pressure. We urge the government to consider our call and move social care funding up the agenda.”

The petition is still open. To sign, please visit: http://www.change.org/social-care-pay