Social care staff in central London face enough problems
already. Inflated property prices, inadequate London weighting
allowance, heavy and complex workloads, long and stressful
commuting, staff shortages and high turnover – and into the
bargain, whenever it’s time for public sector staff to be
praised, or allowances made for essential workers, social care
seems to be forgotten.
Londoners who need social care don’t need yet another
obstacle placed in the path of their services. But congestion
charges, implemented next month, will be just that. Whether the
extra cost is met by individuals or employers, it will have a
negative impact on inner London boroughs.
There is also a risk to central London’s traditionally
vibrant and diverse voluntary sector, particularly small,
community-based groups and support groups. Service users must not
face charges to attend activities that are essential to their
well-being, which means the definition of “essential” – which has,
as the categories of essential workers show, focused entirely on
either clinical need or law enforcement – must be reviewed and
Projects that cannot function without volunteers may also
The scheme cannot achieve its laudable aim of improving
London’s working, living and social environment if it
jeopardises services that this environment depends on.