Campaigners demanding a real living wage for carers descend on Westminster today.
Citizens UK analysis found that social workers in England are less likely to be paid the higher voluntary rate than staff in Wales and Scotland.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings study shows that 30.2% of care sector jobs in England are paid below the actual living wage, compared to 25.4% in Wales.
In Scotland it is just 10.3% – but in London it is 42.3%, in the West Midlands 37.3% and in the North West 33.1%.
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The rate paid by organizations accredited with the Living Wage Foundation is £9.90 per hour, rising to £11.05 in London.
In contrast, the legal minimum rate for over-25s across the UK from Friday will be £9.50 via the National Living Wage.
From Friday, the Welsh Government will provide councils and health boards with £43million to implement a real living wage in the care sector.
Citizens UK’s Jessie Singh, an elderly carer from Preston, Lancs, said: ‘Low pay makes it so hard to get qualifications, but you’re not taken seriously without them.
“This, coupled with ridiculously long hours, leaves social workers feeling they have no choice, with many choosing to leave the sector.
“That’s not right, and a real living wage would help break that cycle.”
Citizen Sherrie Bernadetta, a former carer, said: ‘I’ve seen children of carers go without necessities like new school shoes because their parents can’t afford them.
“We need a real living wage for social workers, and we need it now.
“The new health and welfare tax is being implemented, and we need to see that reflected in wages.
‘The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments are all taking this crisis into account – why are social workers in England being left behind?’
Care England’s chief executive, Professor Martin Green, said providers wanted ‘an appropriate remuneration strategy for social care professionals and believed social workers should be paid well above a living wage’.
He added: “This will only happen when the government invests enough money in the care sector and comes up with a long-term training, development and reward strategy for social care staff.
“Care England supports the work Citizens UK has done to recognize the fantastic work that social care professionals do to support people in their communities.”
The Mirror’s Fair Care for All campaign includes a call for workers to get the real living wage.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We appreciate the dedication and tireless work of health and social care staff throughout the pandemic.
“We are investing at least £500m to support and develop the care workforce over the next three years as part of our £5.4bn to reform social care.
“We are ensuring that the social protection system is funded so that claimants can pay the national minimum wage and the national living wage to social workers.
“Since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016, social worker pay has increased at a faster rate than before.”