By Lucy Ashton

The number of people who have been assessed as needing care packages but who have been unable to access them is growing by the day, according to the Scottish Labour Party.

Dr Donald Macaskill, right,  from Scottish Care has made it clear to MSPs that pay is the key factor in recruitment and retention of care workers.

Although he welcomed the increase to £10.02 per hour, he said that it is not enough and that it will not fix the problem.

In the same meeting, Dr Andrew Buist of the British Medical Association’s general practitioner committee,  said that the key issue that has to be resolved for this winter is the social care backlog and social care problems.

Labour MSP Alex Rowley asked John Swinney, who was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions: “Will the Government, which is putting hundreds of millions of pounds into that area, listen to all the professionals from that sector and bring forward in the budget a wage increase for all carers in Scotland?”

Mr Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, replied: “If we can address and build the capacity of the social care workforce, that will give us some ability to withstand some of the other pressures that the national health service experiences. 

“The Government has already put in place an increase in the salary of the social care workforce to assist in resolving those issues.

“One of the other issues is the availability of people in our community. I am sure that Mr Rowley would accept that the ending of the free movement of individuals from the European Union has diminished the size of the workforce that is available to us in Scotland.

“That has a real and practical effect in a number of sectors, one of which is social care. That is why we are encouraging the United Kingdom Government to arrive at a more sensible position on free movement than it currently occupies.”

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