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UK News

'It's morally wrong to put care workers on frontline with poverty pay': Archbishop of York backs Real Living Wage campaign

by Press Association

The Archbishop of York is among those supporting a new campaign which is calling for the social care sector to receive an immediate £1.4 billion cash boost to make sure workers are paid the so-called Real Living Wage.

Charity Citizens UK said around 280,000 social care workers are in insecure and low-paid work that leaves them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

A petition has been launched appealing for Health Secretary Matthew Hancock to adequately fund social care and ensure care workers and all social care sector staff get at least the Real Living Wage of £10.75 an hour in London and £9.30 in the rest of the UK, which is higher than the statutory minimum of £8.72 for adults.

Citizens UK said care workers, academics, unions, faith leaders, teachers and others have come together to back the appeal for better pay and protection for social care sector workers.

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: "It is just morally wrong to put our care workers on the front line in the face of infection and potential death, with limited personal protective equipment  and to do that for poverty pay.

"For me this is simply unacceptable. I hope that if this epidemic teaches us anything, it will be to draw us back to justice, compassion and love.

"That is why I am proud to support Citizens UK's campaign for Her Majesty's Government to prioritise the proper funding of social care, ensuring that every care worker will get paid a Real Living Wage."

Matthew Bolton, executive director of Citizens UK, said: "Today we are focusing on the social care sector given the huge rates of infection in the country's care homes.

"These incredible people go out every morning to look after our loved ones, risking their lives to do so, often on the minimum wage.

"It's important we take the next few weeks to celebrate our key workers, but also to remember that a Real Living Wage should be the least they deserve."

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: "If this crisis has made one thing clear, it's how much we rely on key workers to support our society.

"However, with almost 40% of all of our key workers earning less than the Real Living Wage, and 280,000 social care workers in underpaid and insecure work, there is an urgent need to rethink how we value and reward those working in these critical roles.

"Providing social care workers with a Real Living Wage is an excellent first step to building back better from this crisis, and we're delighted to join a range of community leaders and cross-party politicians in supporting this campaign."

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