Cost of living crisis
Updated 26th September 2022
We all continue to see the severe impact that the spiralling cost of living is having on families and individuals across the UK. Social workers know the serious harm that the crisis is having especially for those on lower incomes, and for people who are facing or most at risk of poverty.
Tackling poverty and the cost-of-living national emergency is a key campaign area for BASW / SWU and we are raising the concerns that are facing social workers and people that use our services.
- BASW action
- Cost of living survey findings released Sept 22
- Media coverage
- BASW support for social workers
The ‘mini-budget’: what has happened and what does it mean? BASW statement that budget tax cuts will disproportionately benefit the wealthiest, while those on lower incomes are left facing the brunt of inflation and long-term unaffordability in many aspects of life.
‘The mini budget’ – BASW shares what action the Government should take. In the mini-budget, BASW want to see:
- Immediate uplift to Universal Credit and legacy benefits in line with inflation
- Supporting the social work workforce
- Investment in social work and social care
Following the publication of the findings from Professional Social Work magazine’s survey of BASW members about the cost of living crisis (Sept 2022), BASW has briefed Members of Parliament about the concerns that are facing social workers. The briefing included: findings from the survey; quotes from social workers, comments on what social workers would tell the new Prime Minister; and the impact of the crisis on social workers themselves.
In August 2022 BASW wrote to the conservative candidates for the UK Prime Minister to set out serious concerns and continue to meet with sector and policy leaders to highlight the issues for social workers and the people we work with.
We signed a letter along with 70 charities and community organisations with The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and charity partners to call for government to show compassion and leadership to working age low-income families by making up the shortfall they will face this winter.
We continue to support The Poverty Alliance, the SWU #FoodIsCare campaign led by social worker Dominic Watters (@SingleDadSW) which is calling for more support for social workers and the people you help. You can view more on this from the BASW UK conference 2022: Poverty, cost of living and the role of social workers.
The SWU and BASW Austerity Action Group (AAG) continue their ongoing campaign for a more socially just environment tackling the same crucial strands in society – poverty and inequality.
BASW & SWU urge action from new PM after member survey shows true impact from cost-of-living crisis. Social workers fear vulnerable people will die this winter, more children will be in care and an increase in domestic violence.
The findings of the survey included:
- 95% strongly agreed with the statement that vulnerable people may die this winter due to cost of living crisis
- 95% strongly agreed that domestic violence will increase
- 75% strongly agreed that more children will come into care due to cost of living crisis
- 55% strongly agreed that caseloads will become unmanageable
BASW is committed to campaigning against poverty, and raising the concerns and views of our members with politicians and decision-makes.
BASW media coverage to highlight the impact of the cost of living on social workers and people that use the services:
August / September 2022
- Public sector bodies, charities and business to get equivalent support for six months, says prime minister, as BASW members' survey illustrates gravity of cost of living crisis for social workers and those they support. - Community Care
- Social Workers' Benevolent Trust already forced to restrict maximum grant to practitioners as BASW members say they fear they will struggle to pay bills. - Community Care
- Community groups will close without energy bill help, Liz Truss warned. - The Guardian; Social workers said vulnerable people would die this winter because of the cost of living crisis and domestic violence would increase. A survey by the British Association of Social Workers found three-quarters believe more children will be brought into care and 55% fear case loads will become unmanageable.
- The cost of living crisis will have a ‘catastrophic’ impact, with an increase in the number of children entering care and a rise in domestic violence, social workers have warned. - The MJ.co.uk and LGC; A new survey of more than 240 social workers by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) found 95% strongly agreed that vulnerable people may die this winter due to the crisis.
- Cost of living crisis ‘severely’ hitting people accessing children’s and adults’ services, social workers warn – Community Care; Coverage of BASW’s work in highlighting this issues, including statements warning of a crisis to social workers and our letters to Tory party leadership candidates raising awareness of the impact on low-income households
- We have spoken out in the media to highlight the impact of the crisis, and also added our voice to the work of key partners such as The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and charity partners:
- Rising energy prices is a “national emergency” and more support needed to tackle gravest issue UK faces, say charities – Various media / The Joseph Rowntree Foundation; BASW joins charities to urge the next Prime Minister to reassure low-income families they will receive sufficient support through a “national emergency”
- BASW issues warning over impact of cost-of-living crisis on social workers – Children & Young People Now; BASW England’s concerns in its response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care are covered, including the cost of living crisis for social workers, the stress on the workforce created by capping and freezing student bursaries, and defending the role of IRO’s
We know that the right quality of support for children and adults depends on providing social workers with the right conditions, which means more support, reflective practice and resources to do the job. We continue to challenge poor working conditions and the unfeasibly high workloads of social workers including through discussion with sector and policy leaders and through wider media coverage .
Despite working in the most challenging of environments with stretched resources and difficult working conditions, you as social workers continue to deliver in your role. High caseloads are already a major source of stress, and now with the rising challenges faced by people and families due to the cost-of-living crisis, there is further demand to already stretched services.
BASW has confirmed there will be no rise in any membership subscription fee this year as a direct response to the challenges faced.
We are also working with members of BASW Council and committees on the campaign to tackle poverty, this includes work to update the BASW The Anti-Poverty Practice Guide for Social Work.
It is vital that you can create space to support yourself while you support others.
The BASW Social Work Professional Support Service is designed to support your wellbeing and address practice concerns, this peer-to-peer free confidential service is available to all members. Find out more here.
The Social Work Benevolent Trust (SWBT) was established to provide support to social workers facing hardship, by providing grants to qualified social workers who are facing hardship themselves or for their dependents. SWBT: Learn more & apply for financial help
The BASW / SWU Social Worker Wellbeing and Working Conditions: Good Practice Toolkit was developed in partnership with Bath Spa University and led by Dr Jermaine M Ravalier. This toolkit is aimed at social workers in practice, social work supervisors, workforce development leads, managers, and leaders. For social workers in practice, it should help you be more informed and empowered to look after yourself better at work. View more on the work on social workers and working conditions from the BASW UK conference.
Thank you for the continued work you do, these are challenging times and BASW is here for you.
Other useful links:
- Free Debt Advice - Shelter England
- Your health and well-being - Social Care Wales
- CPAG | Home
- Citizens Advice
- Fuel Poverty Action
- National Debt Line