It contributes more than £5.1 billion and supports 300,000 jobs
The positive impact of the social care sector on Scotland’s economy has been revealed in a new report.
It shows that far from being a burden on public finances, the sector contributes more than £5.1 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the country’s economy and supports some 300,000 jobs.
Commissioned by Enable and produced by Biggar Economics, Scotland’s Care Sector: An Economic Driver, demonstrates that social care’s direct economic impact is more than £3.3bn GVA and its indirect economic impact, through supply chains and supporting industries, contributes £800 million.
The impact of the sector from employees spending their wages generates £1.1bn.
Meanwhile,raising pay for Scotland’s frontline social care workers will provide a significant boost to the national economy – generating additional tax revenues, reducing the need for in-work benefits, and enabling higher spending in the real economy.
The report finds that social care has the potential to be a win-win “superpolicy” because it can achieve positive outcomes across a wide range of areas without unintended negative outcomes.
Theresa Shearer, Enable Group chief executive, said: “This new report lays out a detailed economic analysis that strengthens the case for significant investment in social care, and in particular, demonstrates how enhanced pay for the frontline social care workforce brings benefits to the wider economy.
“As the population ages and expectations of truly human rights-driven, self-directed support rightly grow, the social care sector must no longer be viewed as some expensive burden, but as a thriving engine of inclusive, sustainable growth for the future Scottish economy.”
Enable Scotland is moving immediately to raise the rate of pay for its frontline social care workforce to at least £10 per contracted hour from today (1October).
This moved, backed by the trade union Unison, would take the minimum pay for Enable’s personal Assistants to 50p above the real living wage rate of £9.50 per hour, and is equivalent to a 5.2% pay rise – worth over £1,000 per year for a full time care worker.
On the report, Graeme Blackett, director of Biggar Economics said: “The care sector is often discussed in terms of the challenges of funding it. However, this study shows that we should recognise the significant contribution that the care sector makes to the Scottish economy and how it can be a driver of inclusive sustainable growth as the Scottish population ages, if wage levels reflected the value of care to society.”
Professor Nick Watson, chair of Disability Studies at the University of Glasgow, welcomed the report, adding: “Too often, care is presented as a burden; as something that we, as a society, are forced to provide and as a drain on our economy; using up resources that would be better employed elsewhere. In this excellent report, Enable has turned the tables on this idea and have been able to show the contribution care and the care sector makes to our economy. It is, as the report demonstrates, one of Scotland’s largest industries, employing large numbers of people and generating wealth in the process. The care sector should be seen as an asset to our community and not a burden.”
“Investment in the care sector will not just provide better support for those it cares for, it will also help to boost our economy and provide good, secure and rewarding jobs. Hopefully, this report will start moving discussions forward and help to change the way the financing and economy of care and the care sector are framed.”