Barbara Keeley

Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South, has joined other Labour Members calling for all councils within Greater Manchester to pay social care staff the Foundation Living Wage.

The campaign, which aims to make the Foundation Living Wage the minimum starting salary for the directly employed and commissioned social care workforce, is spearheaded by UNISON North West and the GM Care Workers Demand a Pay Rise Campaign.

Labour members have also called for the Foundation Living Wage to social care workers, which stands at £9.90 per hour outside of London, to be included in all Greater Manchester Labour Groups manifesto commitment ahead of the 2022 local elections.

There are currently 112,000 vacancies within the social care sector due to pay issues which is a major problem.

Keeley commented on this issue: “Particularly in the past year, care providers have struggled to recruit enough staff to keep social care facilities open. The reason care staff give most for leaving is better pay elsewhere.



“We know that three-quarters of care staff are paid below the Real Living Wage, comparing unfavourably to other sectors such as retail and hospitality and making it difficult for providers to compete for candidates.”


Social care is one of the most important sectors of society, and within a pandemic it is particularly important that there is a large number of staff in care homes and other care environments.

Keeley believes that the government have mistreated care staff for years, and that the pandemic has only made this worse, with their treatment of staff as one of the major factors behind the current crisis.

“Social care has been treated by the Conservative Government as the poor relation to the NHS for many years. This has only been made worse by the Conservative Government’s decision-making during the pandemic, when care providers have been left out of major policy decisions with sometimes catastrophic consequences.

“Social care staff have shown immense dedication to those they care for throughout various lockdowns in the COVID pandemic, often at risk to themselves and their families. Yet the recognition they have received has been insulting, particularly when compared to the bonus, pay rise and support offered to NHS staff and £500 bonuses paid to care staff in Wales and Scotland.”

Screenshot from UNISON North West obtained from:

So far Oldham and Rochdale are the only boroughs in Greater Manchester that have committed to the Foundation Living Wage.

Keeley, however, hopes that Salford will follow suit, and has also commended the city council: “Despite budget cuts of £222 million since 2010, Salford City Council has prioritised social care by making what they call the “Salford offer” on the pay of care staff – this entails paying a Salford Living Wage of £9.25 per hour, 75 pence more than the median hourly rate for care staff across the country.”

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