Martin Whitfield MSP has joined Labour colleagues in urging the Scottish Government to use the Scottish budget to deliver fair pay for Scotland’s underpaid and undervalued social care workers.

Before stage one of the Scottish budget, Scottish Labour challenged the SNP government to act on social care pay and to end the chronic underfunding of councils.

Figures obtained by Scottish Labour have shown that it would cost the SNP government £150m to raise pay for adult social care workers to £12 – as a stepping stone to £15 an hour.

Scottish Labour has said that the funds for such a move could be raised by pausing the National Care Service bill, repurposing unallocated health and care central funding and delivering savings through reductions in delayed discharge.

This intervention comes as local government has warned of severe financial difficulty and cuts due to underfunding from the SNP-Green government.

Ahead of the budget debate, Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson called on the Scottish government to ‘end the onslaught’ on Scotland’s councils and deliver the funding that they need.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Social care workers have been underpaid and undervalued for far too long. The current government has provided the social care workforce with plenty of warm words – but no meaningful support.

“Budgets are about priorities – and it’s clear that at present the SNP do not regard our heroic social care workforce, who went above and beyond throughout the pandemic and continue to do so after it, as a priority.

“Neither does this budget support Scotland’s councils – councils that have been cut to the bone by the SNP for over a decade. It’s time for the SNP to end the onslaught on councils and deliver fair funding for our vital local services.

“Social care workers and local government will always be priorities for Scottish Labour. The money is there if the SNP government chooses to do right by social care workers and deliver the fair pay that they have long deserved.”