'Under-valued and overlooked' care workers to be given bonus payment, Mark Drakeford announces

Credit: Welsh Government

Social care workers in Wales will be given a one-off payment of £500, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The money will be available to 64,000 care home workers and domiciliary care workers across the country.

Speaking at Friday's Welsh Government press conference, Mr Drakeford said the payment provides recognition for a workforce who are ''under-valued and overlooked.''

''They are undertaking tasks, which involve a high level of intimate personal care, often accepting a greater degree of risk and responsibility,'' Drakeford said.

''Many of our social care workers are juggling their own personal caring responsibilities with their professional ones.

''I want our social care workforce to know their hard work is both appreciated and recognised.''

He also called on the UK Government not to tax the payment, allowing workers to keep the full amount, calling for ''an exception in these truly exceptional circumstances.''

When questioned about the revelation that the Welsh Government has its own internal targets for coronavirus testing, which were not made public, Mr Drakeford said it was becoming a "distraction" as people were "chasing" a numbers figure on whether it had been "met or not met" week by week.

The health minister has faced previous criticism for the government's decision to scrap Wales' 5,000-a-day testing target.

  • Watch the press conference in full:

During the press conference, Mr Drakeford said the number of people with coronavirus in critical care beds has been going down.

The First Minister said admissions to hospital have gone down in Wale Credit: PA

He said, "We are seeing a stabilisation of admissions to hospital and we believe we have suppressed it in the community.

"Whether we have done it enough will depend on the test we apply. When the prime minister said we have begun to come over the peak, I think that is true. Whether we have come over it far enough is a different matter and we have to apply the tests we have set in Wales as we get to the end of next week."

He said, "people in wales have applied heroically what we've asked them to do" and admitted there is lockdown fatigue but there is "also fear" about lifting the lockdown prematurely.

On the issue of the use of face masks in public, the First Minister said the medical evidence does not support it but described it as a "fine line" which could change.