The Institute for Public Policy Research has claimed that an additional 1.6m social workers are required in order to cover shortages that will be caused by Brexit.
Claire McNeil, Associate Director IPPR for families and work said: –
“Social care services will need to change drastically in order to deal with the growing demand for adult care services due to our ageing population and a post-Brexit migration system. These challenges cannot be addressed without a sustainable funding solution for social care, for example by raising National Insurance (NI) contributions for employees and employers by 1 per cent. Persistent underfunding in the adult social care sector has led to a reliance on a low-paid, often poorly trained workforce, with care workers some of the lowest paid workers in the country.”
The IPPR said further that:-
“The sector will have a huge challenge on its hands to recruit enough workers to keep pace with demand, particularly with expected lower levels of migration. We are calling for a radical change in workforce strategy – both to improve working conditions to attract more workers and to raise standards in the sector… The level of quality and training of care workers in the UK is significantly lower when compared to similar economies and poor workforce conditions mean that the sector struggles to recruit, train and retain workers with the skills to deliver high standards of care”
As with all things Brexit little is known as to what the consequences, if any, will flow from the decision to exit the EU. At present the process of triggering Article 50 seems to be going through the parliamentary hurdles with little in the way of significant obstruction. What is yet to be thrashed out is the terms of the deal that Brexit will leave the UK with and most importantly in terms of the care sector what an exit will result in for migrant workers of EU nationalities and further afield.
The care sector is creaking under funding pressures as along with the remainder of the health and social care sector. A scenario where it is more difficult for migrant workers will dis-incentivise a proportion of the care workforce. Some might say that the claims of 1.6m additional social care workers is far-fetched as it is estimated that a grand total of 60,000 social care workers hold EU citizenship of another country.