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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Tory MP highlights 'shameful' gap between MPs and care workers on travel costs

Written by Elizabeth Arnold

A Conservative MP has highlighted the "shameful" gap in travel expenses received by MPs compared with low-paid care workers.

Speaking during an Opposition Day debate on social care, Andrew Selous (pictured) said: "It should shame every one of us in this House, as MPs we get 45 pence a mile when we travel on parliamentary business.

"Carers are often lucky to get 30 pence - what's good enough for an MP is good enough for a care worker and I think we need to sort that out."

The MP for South West Bedfordshire, who is a member of the Health Select Committee, recalled a conversation with a care provider about the levels of pay for workers in the sector.

He said: "She said 'I would be too ashamed to go into a school to try and attract young people to come into my profession'.

"That is not right, we can't have a situation like that.

"I said, 'what would it take for you to attract them?' She said, 'a salary would be nice'. I said, 'how much?' She said, '£16,000 to £18,000 a year'.

"Really, it's not much to ask, is it, for people looking after us in our old age?"

Mr Selous said there was a need for "real honesty" in the debate, adding "because it will cost".

He referred to the handling of social care in Germany and Japan, where there were mandatory social insurance mechanisms, which he said had been in place for a long time and "could point the way forward".

He said: "Parties on all sides of this House have failed to grasp the nettle," adding: "I think there is a real willingness on the part of our constituents for it to be grasped in a fair way, I think people are prepared to pay more."

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