Letter: Caregiving is more than a social safety net


That care workers deserve a fair wage (“Caregiving is essential work that deserves a fair wage”, Opinion, July 27) is indisputable, and Hull’s decision to pay £19.53 per hour, as you report, should be replicated nationally.

However, that would account for all of the £10bn a year you say the government plans to spend on reform, and that’s before filling the 100,000 or so vacancies or meeting the growing demographic demand.

Our current social care model is neither sustainable nor desirable. If, as you quote Hull City Council’s Gwen Lunn as saying “the most important job any of us can do is look after another human being”, then we need a fundamental rethink of how we do it.

That means making social care the organising principle of our economy rather than a threadbare industrialised safety net.

We all need more time and energy to look after ourselves and our loved ones, and by sharing the productivity gains of technology more equitably we can achieve that.

Of course we all need professional support at times too, but rather than inadequately replacing mutual aid, it should complement, strengthen and support it.

Patching up our failing system certainly needs urgent money now, but reform should build on the emerging evidence that community-based approaches can create better care and jobs at lower cost.

Brendan Martin
Managing Director, Buurtzorg Britain & Ireland, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, UK

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