Learning Disability Voices is extremely disappointed by the Government’s statement today which reinstates enforcement action against employers in the social care sector without having identified how the estimated £400m back-pay liability will be funded. This will continue the current uncertainty that vulnerable care users, personal budget holders, local authorities and care providers face and adds to the burdens on a sector which is already under resourced and struggling to cope with the demands placed upon it.

Reacting to today’s announcement

Tim Cooper, co-chair of Learning Disability Voices and CEO of charity providers United Response, said:

“I’m saddened by the Government’s decision today. On behalf of the thousands of vulnerable people we care for, I expected better.

“This is a fudge with potentially disastrous consequences for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We recognise that the Government has taken some measures to relieve the immediate pressure on employers by waiving penalties and allowing up to a year to assess the liability, however it has continued to shirk the fundamental question of how employers are to afford the significant costs – estimated at £400m.

“The vital services which we provide are wholly publically funded. It cannot be right for the Government to ask us to use our charitable reserves to foot a substantial bill which results from a Government mistake – albeit honestly made.

“We call on the Government to ensure that low paid social care workers are speedily paid what they are owed and that Government ensures that employers are fairly funded to do this. This is the right and proper thing to do and the Government must make an unequivocal commitment now, not in 12 months’ time.”

Matthew Flinton, co-chair of Learning Disability Voices, said:

“The Government has yet again failed to resolve this problem confronting the most vulnerable people in our society and threatening the continued existence of care providers who provide vital services on which those people depend.

“We’ve worked with the Government for two years and have still no clear solution to the issue.

“The Government has already recognised that the problem was caused by its failure to give appropriate guidance to care providers, personal budget holders, local government and even the HMRC. This is not a solution which will guarantee the back pay due to care staff or the financial viability of providers.

“We will be campaigning hard on behalf of the care sector to find a long-term solution.

“This must involve a separate scheme fully funded by the Government to cover the liability. We urge the Government to think again and to do the right thing.”