Care workers give verdict on Welsh government deal with Plaid Cymru

A trade union representing thousands of care workers has given an enthusiastic welcome to the Welsh Labour Government’s agreement with Plaid Cymru on the future of social care.

UNISON Cymru Wales was responding to the announcement earlier this week that Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru will co-operate on key policy areas, including the creation of a National Care Service.

UNISON Cymru Wales lead officer for social care, Mark Turner, said,

“The care sector is in crisis. Care workers are forced to exist on such low salaries, many are trapped in in-work poverty. Poor pay is a major reason why there are so many care vacancies. This is a problem that must be addressed now.

“UNISON has been calling for the creation of a National Care Service for some time and this agreement is just the kind of news care workers need to hear. We know from our public opinion polling Welsh people support it too.

“UNISON looks forward to helping shape a National Care Service which places those requiring care and their dedicated care workers at its heart. This would help take pressure off the NHS so everyone benefits.”

Savanta ComRes public opinion polling commissioned by UNISON earlier this year, found: –

  • 72 per cent of the Welsh public would support the creation of a National Care Service, similar to the NHS, to deliver social care for older, disabled and vulnerable people.
  • 90 per cent of the public believe Wales’ care workforce should be paid at least £9.50 or more

Typically, care workers in Wales earn only the national minimum wage of £8.91 per hour.

Notes for editors

  • The Welsh government’s agreement on policy co-operation on social care says:

‘Future of Social Care – Set up an expert group to support our shared ambition to create a National Care Service, free at the point of need, continuing as a public service. We will agree an implementation plan by the end of 2023. We will continue to better integrate health and care and work towards parity of recognition and reward for health and care workers.’

  • Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,021 Welsh adults aged 16+ online from 1 to 7 April 2021. Data were weighted to be representative of Welsh adults by age, gender, region and SEG.


  1. Care workers across Wales typically earn the national minimum wage of £8.91 per hour (as of 1 April 2021). To what extent do you think this hourly rate is too high or too low?
SUM: Too high 4%
SUM: Too low 76%
Much too high 2%
A bit too high 3%
About right 16%
A bit too low 34%
Much too low 42%
Don’t know 4%

Base: All respondents (n=1,021)


  1. Which of the following sentences best describes your thoughts on pay for care workers in Wales? The real living wage is £9.50/hour.
SUM: All at least or more 90%
All should be paid more than the real living wage 37%
All should be paid at least the real living wage 53%
Some can be paid less than the real living wage 4%
All should be paid less than the real living wage 1%
Don’t know 5%

Base: All respondents (n=1,021)


  1. To what extent do you support or oppose the Welsh government establishing a National Care Service (similar to the NHS) to deliver social care for older, disabled and vulnerable people in Wales?
SUM: Support 72%
SUM: Oppose 5%
NET: Support 67%
Strongly support 40%
Somewhat support 32%
Neither support nor oppose 14%
Somewhat oppose 2%
Strongly oppose 3%
Don’t know 8%

Base: All respondents (n=1,021)


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer on 07816 53 83 97