At an extraordinary meeting of Oldham Council’s cabinet this evening [Tuesday 7th July 2020], Labour councillors will vote to extend vital support for the borough’s fantastic care sector. This comes a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson looked to lay the blame for COVID-19 at our carers’ feet.
When the pandemic struck earlier this year Oldham Council acted quickly to support front line carers. The council introduced a 90% occupancy guarantee for care homes, and a commitment to pay firms providing care in domestic settings according to expected need rather than actual care delivered. This provided firms with financial security at a time when many people were choosing to rely on family carers rather than use services.
The council also provided additional funding to support care firms with unexpected costs like PPE, and a 5% uplift to ensure carers were paid at least the National Living Wage.
With the original provision due to expire, councillors will choose to extend it in recognition of the continuing vital role our world class care professionals play on the front line of the pandemic.
Cllr Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE, Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “I was appalled to see Boris Johnson trying to shift the blame for this pandemic onto carers.
“I see every day the incredible work carers do to keep people safe in very difficult conditions. While the government dithered in the early days of the pandemic, care staff got on with the job, without concern for their own safety.
“I’m delighted that in Oldham we’re taking this decision to keep providing the additional support the sector needs to keep going.”
Cllr Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for COVID-19 Recovery, said: “Our carers have been the true heroes of this pandemic. The Government has turned its back on the very people it turned out to clap for every Thursday.
“We are standing up for the people that have put their lives at risk serving others. We have to do whatever it takes to support the industry so that together we can get through this and build back better.”