Government are "piling pressure" on the social care sector with Brexit policy

13 July 2020, 21:08

By Seán Hickey

Excluding the social care sector from the "health visa" Brexit policy will keep the sector on its knees rather than lifting it up.

Christina McAnea is the Assistant General Secretary of trade union UNISON and she joined Iain Dale amid the government's announcement that foreign social care workers will not be able to work in the UK post-Brexit.

The government's thinking behind the move is that it will allow people already in the UK to fill in some of the 120,000 vacancies in the sector but Ms McAnea wasn't buying the theory.

"They think anyone can come in off the street and become a care worker and that's been a flaw in the government's social care strategy" she said. Iain pointed out that the bottom line is that freedom of movement is ending in January and so "there will have to be changes."

The union chief said that there are "fundamental problems in social care" that need changing before drastic measures such as the ban. She recommended "removing the £22,000 cap in terms of saying that you need to earn that in order to get a visa, removing that would encourage people to come in and do those jobs in that sector."

The social care sector has been shown to not be up to scratch, Ms McAnea said
The social care sector has been shown to not be up to scratch, Ms McAnea said. Picture: PA

Ms McAnea said that "we want to see a fundamental reform in the whole cares sector and that includes changing this part of it about the immigration rules," thereby dismissing the government's policy plan.

She called for "a proper review about how care is done in this country" because in her view "all that's happened during this pandemic is that it's become so apparent that it's on its knees."

Iain suggested that the alleged 3 million people that will become unemployed because of the pandemic can be trained to work in the industry. Ms McAnea agreed, however reminded him that there currently is no strategy on this.

"Until the government has a proper strategy...they're just piling more pressure on the care sector at a time when it desperately doesn't need that."

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