Foster carers call on Falkirk Council to increase allowances to cope with rise in cost of living

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Falkirk foster carers held a summit to highlight what they see as a “local foster care crisis” in a bid to seek commitments for urgent change.

Carers at the event, hosted by the IWGB Foster Care Workers Union, said they are being left thousands of pounds out of pocket every year because their fees and allowances have not kept up with rising inflation.

Compared to a decade ago, Falkirk foster carers have seen a 23 per cent real terms decrease in the allowances they receive. Their professional fees are worth 22 per cent less than in 2019.Labour, Conservatives and SNP councillors attended the recent event, held in St Francis Xavier hall, to hear directly from carers about their daily struggles to survive spiralling costs without corresponding raises in council support.Carers presented a list of demands to councillors including recognition for their trade union, the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a raise in fees and allowances to meet the actual costs of care, and an increase in car mileage payments from 45p to 60p per mile.The union said whilst imposing real terms cuts on their own carers, Falkirk council continues to spend huge amounts on private fostering agencies. These agencies are costing them on average 75 per cent more per placement compared to in-house care, leading to rapidly increasing costs for the council.Kenny Millard, chair of the IWGB Foster Care Workers branch, said: “It is unacceptable and unsustainable that dedicated professionals providing 24/7 care for the community’s most vulnerable young people are being forced to subsidise the public service they provide. Investing in foster care is an investment in the future of our communities, and the time to make that investment – and sit down to hear carers’ concerns – is now.”

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Previously, a Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “We highly value our foster carers and kinship carers and recognise the impact the cost of living crisis is having on them whilst they care for Falkirk’s children in their own homes.

“Allowances are currently under review and we hope to be in a position to share the outcome of this with our carers soon.”