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Date: Friday 21 March 2014

UNISON calls on Scottish Government to invest extra £63 million from Osborne’s budget in home care services

Scotland’s Finance Minister, John Swinney MSP, confirmed that Chancellor George Osborne added £63m to the Scottish budget this week.

UNISON Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to pay the living wage to all home care staff in Scotland. Two out of three home care staff work in the private or voluntary sector and they are not guaranteed the living wage. The £63 million will more than cover even the highest estimates for this policy.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish secretary said:
‘While we share The Scottish Government’s anger at the austerity and further cuts in public spending. We also think the Scottish Government must use any extra funds to invest in Scotland’s home care service.

"It is the chance to show that the Scottish Government really do have a different set of priorities. And what higher priority is there than caring for our most vulnerable and elderly people."

Mike Kirby said:
"Our Home care service is in crisis with home care visits often restricted to 15 minutes and staff are stressed, and they are often paid below the minimum wage never mind the living wage.

"If all care staff were guaranteed the living wage it will make a big difference. It will improve staff morale and staff retention, it would allow staff to spend more time with their clients and a big step towards ending low pay”

ENDS

Notes to editors:
Much of this was as a consequence of the Chancellor’s announcements to provide funds for devolved services in England. The Scottish Government receives the consequential through the Barnet Formula to spend on their own priorities.
John Swinneys response to the chancellor’s budget http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/UK-Budget-can-t-hide-continued-cuts-a90.aspx

For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary, 07803 952261
Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland head of bargaining and campaigns, 07958 122409
Danny Phillips, UNISON Scotland communications officer, 07944 664110



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