Social workers are facing increasing financial hardship with a third in greater debt than they were a year ago, according to a survey by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).
The poll of 1,100 social workers found two-thirds felt worse off than they did last year. A fifth of those who feel poorer said they were struggling to afford groceries.
The Social Workers Benevolent Trust, the charity established by BASW to help social workers in financial need, has also reported a 61% increase in requests for help in the past year.
The trust says that more and more of these applications are coming from agency social workers.
Kate Slade, one of the trust’s trustees, said it was imperative that local and national government protect social workers from further pay freezes or cuts.
“Social workers were never the beneficiaries of sizeable pay hikes during the boom years, unlike teachers and doctors, and can ill afford prolonged attacks on their living standards,” she said.
At BASW’s annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, members voted in favour of giving more money from the association to the trust.
Members also voted in favour of continued negotiations with the College of Social Work and a motion tabled by BASW’s Black Country branch that required the organisation’s council to make its agendas and minutes available to members was passed.