MORE THAN 400 Scottish faith leaders have signed a declaration calling for social care workers to be paid at least £12 per hour. They urge the Scottish Government to do “everything within its power” to immediately ensure that all frontline staff earn a fair wage to help them better cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis. With demand continually growing for social care services, an improved wage level is essential to retaining staff and boosting recruitment.

Initiated by the Church of Scotland, whose social care arm CrossReach runs cradle-to-the-grave social care services across Scotland, and the Catholic Church in Scotland, the Scottish Faith Leaders declaration is part of the ‘4 Steps to Fair Work’ campaign.

Spearheaded by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCSP), the campaign aims to tackle the growing crisis within Scotland’s not-for-profit social care sector.

Providers like CrossReach are feeling the impact that a Scottish Government-funded base rate of pay of just £10.90 per hour is having on staff and services. As a result of this many staff are leaving the workforce for better-paid jobs elsewhere and there are challenges in trying to recruit new staff. This is leading to a loss of expertise and potential talent, and an undermining of key services – all of which jeopardises support for those who need it.

Church members are encouraged to show their support for the campaign by contacting their local MSP and asking them to raise the aims and objectives in the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Faith Leaders Forum, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “As people of faith we have a calling to honour care and service. Dignity and respect for others is at the very heart of the faith message. We are delighted to have this opportunity to have our collective voice heard on this matter of great importance.”

Established more than 150 years ago, CrossReach provides social care for over 10,000 people of all ages in Scotland who find themselves facing challenging circumstances at any point in their life. Operating in 70 locations across Scotland, the charity employs 1,600 staff and 350 volunteers.

Viv Dickenson, Chief Executive Officer of CrossReach, said: “This is not just a matter of justice for those working in care, but it is a matter which speaks to the way in which we as a society value those that they support and care for. Our fundamental belief that every life is worth living and can be lived in the fullest way possible.”

The 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign, which has been running since June, aims to ensure that social care and support workers begin to be properly rewarded and recognised and the people they support can thrive by getting the support they need at the right time and in the right places.

The four steps are:

  • Deal with pay inequality: As a first step, implement the promise of a minimum of £12 per hour for social care staff, starting from 1 April 2023.
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work: Apply pay uplifts to staff in all services, not just those in registered adult social care.
  • Value all staff who play their part: Deliver funding packages that value the crucial role of support staff and managers, alongside frontline workers.
  • Give us hope of equality: Publish a timetable by this September to deliver fully on Fair Work in Social Care by 2025.

In May, the General Assembly was warned that Scotland’s care system is under strain and the Scottish Government must act now to honour its commitment to invest in the workforce.

The Moderator has recorded a video calling for fair pay for social care staff, and each day this week a video from a faith leader on the same topic will be posted online.

* View the Moderator’s video here.

* More information on the 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign here.

* Source: Church of Scotland