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How much should carers be paid?

Britain's biggest trade union, Unison, has accused councils in England and Wales of failing to ensure home care workers earn the national minimum wage for all the hours involved in their work.

Colin Angel from the UK Homecare Association told the Today programme that the problem lies with councils commissioning care just for the time spent at appointments, and not paying enough to cover someone's full hours.

"We published a price of £15.74 to achieve full compliance with minimum wage, including travel time. Regrettably, we see councils purchasing care at much lower rates. However, what we are beginning to see already are care agencies turning down business with local authorities because councils just aren't paying enough."

And the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), David Pearson, said that both local and central government have a role to play.

"We expect providers to pay the minimum wage and to treat their staff appropriate (sic). At the same time it's quite right that local authorities do check that they are paying enough in order for that to happen."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 29 October.

  • 29 Oct 2014
  • From the section UK