Oldham Council will pay carers a living wage as part of the budget plan

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Oldham Council has announced its new plans for the 2022 budget with a rise in council tax and a pay rise for carers among the main announcements.

A 3.99% increase in housing tax will be implemented, of which 2% will be allocated to social assistance for adults.

The council has also confirmed that it will use 1% of its council tax increase proposal to pay the Foundation’s living wage to all of its carers, whether directly employed or in the supply chain of care.

Carers will see their pay cut from £9.50 per hour to £9.90, meaning they will earn the Foundation’s living wage.

Council leader Arooj Shah told the Oldham Times: “During the pandemic, social workers have stepped up in a difficult time, so it’s only right that we show them gratitude for what they’ve done.

“They are some of our lowest paid workers, so it’s the right thing to do.”

There are an estimated 4,300 carers in Oldham working in the care sector, 85% of whom are women.

Among these women, 75% have a family.

On a 40-hour working week, the average for a care worker, the increase will mean an extra £16 a week in a care worker’s pocket and an extra £768 a year.

Lisa Whittaker, a carer working at Oakdene Care Home in Lees, said: “An extra £768 a year will mean not having to skimp and save so much when my children need something.

“Carers generally live hand-to-mouth, so this pay raise is definitely a positive thing and makes us feel appreciated.”

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We are delighted to hear of Oldham Council’s decision to lift over 4,300 frontline carers at Oldham.

“Over the past two years, adult care workers have been instrumental in keeping our society healthy and functioning, and we welcome Oldham Council’s decision to raise them to £9.90 from time.

“The extra £768 a year will make a huge difference to workers as they face rising costs of living.

“We call on all businesses that are in a position to do so to consider joining Oldham’s council and becoming accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.”

The remaining 1.99 per cent of the budget’s tax increase will be spent on the council’s extended core services, such as street cleaning, highways and youth work.

The full budget proposals will be submitted to the Council’s Cabinet on February 14 before being debated by the full council on March 2, when the council’s budget for 2022/23 will be set.

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