A massive financial problem is looming for about 200 charities, including MENCAP, after HMRC demanded 6 years of back pay for home helps. The black hole being quoted could be as much as £400 million. Charities fear the sector could implode within months and are desperate to put their concerns to ministers.
In addition, because of a change in the rules, about 178,000 people with learning difficulties may lose their assistance at home because of changes to pay rates for 24 hour care.
Under guidance issued by the Government in 1999, when the minimum wage was introduced, disability charities which sent a carer overnight to look after someone with learning difficulties were required to pay only a single sum of £25 or £35 to cover the period when they were asleep. Now it appears that they must pay the minimum wage throughout the shift. And that these extra payments can be backdated for 6 Years!
Jan Tregelles (Chief Executive of MENCAP) said, “we all recognise that our social care colleagues do some outstanding work and are some of the lowest paid but we cannot pay them if we do not have the money and we only receive money from government sources. For someone with serious learning disabilities having someone stay overnight ‘at home’ makes the vital difference between ‘living a life’ and spending the rest of their life in a hospital setting”.