Gwynedd carer’s champion welcomes £500 bonus announcement
Gwynedd Council’s carer’s champion has welcomed an announcement that over 60,000 Welsh social care workers will receive a £500 bonus with a hope that it will lead to higher salaries in future.
Making the announcement this afternoon, First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed the measure as a “thank you” for risking their lives in the battle against coronavirus.
Acknowledging an often “under-valued and overlooked” workforce, the move follows an earlier Welsh Government decision to provide an initial £40m extra funding for adult social care services to help meet the extra costs associated with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Welcoming the move, Gwynedd Council’s carer’s champion hoped that the initial bonus would be followed by higher salaries in due course.
“ I now hope that the Government in Westminster will make the £500 tax and deduction free, said Cllr Eryl Jones-Williams, who represents Dyffryn Ardudwy.
“ I have know for years how hard carers work and how underpaid they are.
“With their important work being recognised at local, Welsh and National level, let us hope that in future their work will be benefited by higher salaries.
“ Without them there would be a bigger financial burden on the NHS and local authorities.
“A small step, but in the right direction,” he said.
Mark Drakeford made similar calls during the daily press conference, calling on the UK Government not to tax the extra payment and allow social care workers to retain the full amount.
“We are urging the UK Government and the HMRC to make an exception in these truly exceptional circumstances,” he added, noting that the Welsh Government is also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure it does not impact on people’s benefit entitlements.
Mr Drakeford concluded, “Tens of thousands of people work in social care in Wales, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and are doing so with great dedication in often challenging circumstances.
“They are undertaking tasks, which involve a high level of intimate personal care, often accepting a greater degree of risk and responsibility. Many of our social care workers are juggling their own personal caring responsibilities with their professional ones.
“I want our social care workforce know their hard work is both appreciated and recognised.
“This payment is designed to provide some further recognition of the value we attach to everything they are doing to – it recognises this group of people are providing the invisible scaffolding of services, which support both our NHS and our wider society.”
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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