In response to the HMRC’s ruling that carers sleeping overnight to provide safety and reassurance should be paid the national minimum wage for all hours, Mencap has said this could leave vulnerable people with learning disabilities without overnight supervision.

Mencap says the total bill for back pay could be £400m, as it will be due by September, and in some cases dating back six years. The national minimum wage for those aged 25 and over is £7.50 an hour, which will increase to £9 by 2020.

A government spokesperson has said: “We recognise the vital role social care providers play in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society and workers in that sector should be paid fairly for the important job they do.

“As the Prime Minister has said, the government is considering this issue extremely carefully and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure any action taken to protect workers is fair and proportionate.