“I’d love a pay rise. The ultimate owner of our care home got £2.5 million last year. Me no pay rise at all.” Kent Care Worker 19/04/20
In this time of crisis, we see how important these care workers are. They are looking after our mums and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunties and brothers and sisters, while they put themselves at risk with inadequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are also particularly vulnerable to being paid below the legal wage floor; and experience significant job insecurity, being four times more likely than average to be employed on a zero-hours contract.
Kent County Council have paid private Social Care contractors between April 2019 and Feb 2020 close to half a billion pounds (hover over each bar for monthly amount), according to their published data. As of yet there are no known death of care workers in Kent, and also it’s not known how many are self isolating.
Those who work in the adult social care sector find themselves in receipt of an average hourly pay below the basic rate paid in most UK supermarkets according to The Kings Fund in August 2019. Only yesterday it was reported that sector led data showed around 625,000 (50%) independent sector adult social care workers are paid below £8.72.
Laing Buisson, a leading healthcare industry analysis company, said it estimated there had been 5,300 deaths in homes, based on calculations made after an industry survey. And we expect people to work and potential die for less than £8.72, while caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Each year Skills for Care publishes a report on The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, Its clear from the infographic below taken from the report, nearly 25% of those who work in this sector are on zero hour contract. The turnover rate in 2018/19 was 33.3%; and those who work for private contractors get paid 15% less than their colleagues who work in a local authority care home or company in the South East Region, which covers Kent.
KCC pay private contractors like HC ONE OVAL LTD who according to their accounts, lodged at Companies House, are registered in the Cayman Islands; a known offshore tax haven.
“HC One is the UK’s largest care home operator. In the last two years they have paid out £48.5 million in dividends in 2017 and 2018. HC-One appears to have declared a loss every year except one since its creation in 2011 according to accounts lodged at Companies House.. It has paid no UK corporation tax in that time, and instead received net tax credits of £6.5m since a reorganisation in 2014 according to the Financial Times.
The highest paid senior director of HC-One received £2.5m since 2011. Dr Patel, (pictured) along with his management team, received £30m for a stake sale in 2014.
Tracing the flow of money is incredibly difficult as HC-One has a complex corporate structure, with 50 companies, six of which are registered offshore either in the Cayman Islands or Jersey and a further five in the UK as foreign entities. This means investors and executives are likely to have received much greater sums as only one of its subsidiaries files consolidated accounts — the top UK company, FC Skyfall Upper Midco Limited.”
The payment of £48.5 million in dividends is we personally believe completely inappropriate for a business dependent on Kent and other UK taxpayers through its many local authority funded residents. It’s time for a rethink
In a time like this our country needs as much tax as possible to survive the covid-19 pandemic and the aftermath, and care worker staff deserve, wherever they work, a decent wage.
The Resolution Foundation have said:
“Clapping is welcome, but care workers will value better pay and conditions even more,”
While Kent County Council pays money to known offshore companies who own and provide social care to our loved ones, We know the money to pay them more is definitely there.
Surely it is time to rethink how much carers ought to be paid. Care workers like all other frontline staff throughout this pandemic deserve a decent wage in the here and now, and this would NOT be especially challenging to achieve. We are talking about relatively simple choices that require political resolve and the requisite funding.
Care workers deserve more than clapping. They deserve better pay and conditions for protecting our loved ones during this pandemic. Delivering these things now is the least we can do.
The Shepwayvox Team
Stay At Home – Protect The NHS – Save Lives