Thousands of Birmingham carers are set for a wage boost after Birmingham City Council developed the new Birmingham Care Wage.
The plan for private sector care workers on council contracts to be paid £7.50 an hour regardless of age instead of the Government’s new minimum wage (£7.20 an hour for those aged over 25, from 1 April) is outlined in the Business Plan and Budget 2016+. This means those Birmingham care workers on the current national minimum wage of £6.70 an hour will see an 11.9 per cent pay increase.
And Leader of the council, Cllr John Clancy believes it is right to reward those who care for some of the city’s must vulnerable people.
He said: “This has been a very tough budget to set but even at a time when we’re having to make £90 million in cuts over the next financial year we think it’s right to prioritise wages for those people who care for the people we love the most.
“The Birmingham Care Wage is higher than the Government’s new minimum wage and is worth around £620-a-year based on a 40-hour week. This shows that we value the vital contribution of people working in care homes across the city.”
Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement, added: “Times are tough for many people at the moment and this will boost the incomes of some of the lowest paid households in the city. That in turn means more money to be spent in communities across Birmingham, boosting the local economy and creating more jobs in Birmingham: a virtuous circle.”
The Business Plan and Budget, to be discussed by Cabinet on 16 February and the city council on 1 March, stresses that stronger partnership working with communities, businesses and other partners will hold the key to Birmingham City Council’s continued improvement at a time of unprecedented budget cuts.
And the city council is determined to play a key role regionally as the West Midlands Combined Authority seeks to drive economic growth and investment.
Reduced Government funding means Birmingham City Council must make further cuts of over £250m by 2020, with £90 million in cuts for the next financial year.
But in the foreword to the Business Plan and Budget, Cllr Clancy and Chief Executive Mark Rogers insist: The council is determined to meet this improvement agenda at a time of unprecedented budget cuts.
“The council’s organisation will become much more strategic, and much smaller. This will affect services; and what residents and businesses need to do themselves in future.
“As this plan makes clear, this is a council on a massive journey. We are responding to the improvement challenges to education, children’s social care and to the council. You can see real progress with this work, such as in the recent LGA peer review of education. Of course, we are the first to say there is still more to be done alongside consolidation of our new approaches.
“We are certain that the city of Birmingham and its council will have a great future if we work together in partnership. And we are both determined to see through the vision and plans outlined in this document to bring that about.” This quote could change as the foreword is being re-written
Priorities outlined in the Business Plan include:
• Keeping the Children’s and Education Improvement Plans on track.
• Successfully concluding the work of the Independent Improvement Panel.
• Creating strong strategic partnerships.
• Setting a realistic budget and planning framework for the next four years.
• Establishing the combined authority and taking forward the devolution deal.
• Decent homes.
• A focus on investment and assets.
• A City for Young People, Learning and Skills.
• Transforming public transport and reducing congestion.