Care workers and the cost of living crisis

As the cost of living continues to increase, more and more people on lower incomes are struggling to make ends meet. Care workers in particular, who are burnt out after 2 years of working on the frontline in the pandemic, are feeling the effects of this.

Recently, the social care industry as a whole has seen a sharp rise in vacancies and turnover, resulting in hundreds of thousands waiting for help, and care workers who are unable to keep up with work demands. The dip in the workforce can be attributed to various reasons, however, low pay rates are one of the top forces pushing care workers out of the sector into other avenues. Workers are moving to jobs with less responsibility, yet more pay, such as hospitality, despite them providing one of the most vital lifelines to struggling people in the UK.


Annually, the social care industry contributes £46bn to the national economy and creates over 1.65 million jobs, but care workers at the bottom, continue to receive inadequate pay increases that are not in line with inflation.


The Trade Union Congress, recently revealed that public sector pay had decreased by £131 a month, meaning that for many, their living costs are not sustainable anymore. The BBC recently spoke to Karen Taggart, a care worker from Cleaveland, who said that those looking to get onto the property ladder, or people with families to support, “just can’t afford to be in a job like this”.


So what can you do to either support those struggling or support yourself? We would recommend the following steps:

1. Join a union

Unions are there to give you a voice and ensure your needs and issues are represented. UNISON is currently focussing on an ‘inflation-busting’ rise for 2022.

2. Write to your local MP

Call for action and explain the issues you and many others are facing. You can find great tips to help you with this here:

3. Start a conversation

Talk regularly with your colleagues, managers and friends to share the load but also to show your support.  Sharing messaging from your union or a relevant charity may also help to spread the word and educate people on the issue.

4. If you are struggling, always access support & resources

If you are worried about your financial wellbeing, you can access useful resources:

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