The impact of the cost of rising fuel or energy bills on domiciliary providers has been highlighted in new research.
A survey conducted by the Homecare Association revealed that 95% of providers said that their staff have expressed concern about current or potential future increases in the cost of living.
More than 600 members of the Association responded. Key results included:
- 82% of respondents said primary concern for staff on the cost of living was either the cost of fuel or energy bills
- 21% added that care workers had either given notice, intended to look for work elsewhere or had already done so because they cannot afford to put fuel in their cars
- More than half of respondents asserted that care workers had requested an increase in the mileage rate
Mileage rates vary in the North and South
A North-South divide in England was also clearly apparent, with 83% of providers in the North East paying mileage rates of 30p per mile or less, compared to 39% in the South West.
The Association noted that it had evidence that some care workers were receiving just 10p per mile. Just 2% of providers were paying above 45p per mile.
Rising costs impact care workers
Homecare Association CEO, Dr Jane Townson, said the rising costs of fuel and food were impacting on homecare workers.
She added: ‘Employers in homecare are acutely aware of the value of their care staff and the pressures they are under and want to ensure they receive fair remuneration, including covering variable costs such as mileage. Operating with increasingly tight margins, though, providers in the state-funded part of the sector have little room for manoeuvre.’
Dr Townson added that 90% of homecare workers use their own cars or public transport for work. With many unable to afford newer fuel-efficient vehicles, which means they must pay emissions or clean air charges in cities where they apply. Also, public transport routes and timetables do not always line up with homecare delivery needs and in rural areas it is not even a viable option.
How can the government help care workers?
The Association is calling on the government to:
- Provide temporary grant funding as a fuel allowance to cover increased costs of fuel for vehicles needed to deliver homecare
- Provide funding in the short-term to cover emission/clear air charges in cities where they apply and support lease or purchase of electric fleet vehicles for homecare services to enable a reduction in emissions in homecare in the longer-term
- Provide adequate baseline funding for homecare to ensure that fee rates cover costs and care workers receive fair remuneration, including full recompense for work-related expenses such as mileage
There are also tips for Care Home providers here to lower your energy bills