Brexit could pose an existential crisis to social care for elderly and disabled

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Though the terms of the exit of the UK from Europe have yet to be thrashed out commentators in the sector are warning of a massive threat to Britain’s pressurised social care sector.

The main source of pressure would come from the 84,000 care workers who come from European member countries, 90% of whom are here by virtue of the favourable immigration policies for EU nationals. They represent 1 in 20 of the care home workforce and should their immigration statuses be put in jeopardy by the proposed exit of UK from Europe this is likely to have an adverse impact on the care home sector as a whole. This is notwithstanding the difficult that care homes generally experience in attempting to attract workers to their teams in light of the increase in NMW and the difficulty to sustain a commercially viable business.

The situation could be much more acute for the south-east of England and London as their dependency on European Care workers is higher at 1 in 9. We are still in the interim phase of not knowing exactly what impact, if any, will affect the UK and the care sector more specifically: It is clearly a volatile market which does not have the flexibility to weather the storm of a loss of a section of its workforce. The security of employment that EU nationals once had is under threat by the triggering of Article 50 which is expected pulled in the early part of 2017.

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