Web links for 6th July 2012
Paul Gregg’s presentation from a Bank of England seminar in May shows that before the crash UK had good GDP and productivity performance. Employment rose sharply in the late 1990s, reaching 74% “and then stuck”. If you take students out of the picture economic inactivity fell steadily and employment of people from ethnic minorities, disabled people and lone parents rose – but not people with the lowest qualifications or from the most deprived areas. By 2004, UK had one of lowest % of working age on benefits in OECD – only higher than the US because of decent maternity coverage. Until crunch, welfare spending was falling. Given the worst GDP fall since WW2 the labour market impact was limited, but the price for this was flatlining productivity. Gregg points to two stages – high profitability, maintenance of consumption, flat real labour costs, then – falling real wages
United Kingdom Homecare Association survey of the impact of local authority commissioning of homecare services finds councils are commissioning very short visit times for those receiving support: “73% of homecare visits in England appear to be 30 minutes or shorter. 34% of providers reported concerns that their councils required them to undertake personal care in such short visit times that the dignity of service users was at risk, including 6% who were concerned that safety could also be compromised.” 74% said, over last 12 months, councils “had become more interested in securing a low price over the quality of service delivered.” 9 out of 10 said there had been a real-terms reduction in fees. “The overwhelming majority of councils expect providers to cover careworkers’ travel time and travel costs out of the hourly rate …” causing problems with their NMW obligations.
Developments put “considerable strain on providers’ ability to reward their workforce adequately”