SOARING FUEL COSTS: Care workers need mileage rate increase

By Bill Heaney

National health service staff have received a temporary increase in their mileage rate, in recognition of the substantial increase in the cost of fuel, and that is welcome, Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie told the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

She added: “However, there was no similar increase for social care workers, of whom many in the private sector are being paid only 25p per mile. They are effectively subsidising their employers, and they are leaving the sector because they cannot afford to do that.

“In response to my parliamentary question on the matter, the Minister for Mental Well-being and Social Care [Kevin Stewart] said that the Scottish Government was in discussion with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities about it.

“I have correspondence with me, however, that directly contradicts that claim. There has been no engagement with COSLA about it.

“I am sure that the First Minister will agree with me that being disingenuous with the Parliament is unacceptable. Will she insist on urgent discussions now to ensure that care workers get the increase in their fuel allowance that they absolutely deserve?”

Nicola Sturgeon promised her: “We will do everything possible to ensure that social care workers are treated fairly.
“There is, of course, a difference, as Jackie Baillie is well aware—and I think that she referenced it.
“Government is not the direct employer of many social care workers, as they are employed either by local councils or by private operators, so the situation is not as straightforward as it is with the NHS.

“However, after councils are re-elected tomorrow, I will ensure that there is engagement with councils and with COSLA to see whether we can take forward an agreement that ensures that social care workers are treated fairly in what are really difficult times for everyone.”

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