Scots care sector contributes £5bn to economy

ENABLE Group CEO Theresa Shearer

A new report produced by BiGGAR Economics – Scotland’s Care Sector: An Economic Driversays that far from being a burden on the public finances, the social care sector contributes more than £5.1 billion gross value added (GVA) to the Scottish economy and supports some 300,000 jobs.

BiGGAR Economics director Graeme Blackett said: “The care sector is often discussed in terms of the challenges of funding it.

“However, this study shows that we should recognise the significant contribution that the care sector makes to the Scottish economy and how it can be a driver of inclusive sustainable growth as the Scottish population ages, if wage levels reflected the value of care to society.”

ENABLE Group CEO Theresa Shearer said: “This new report lays out a detailed economic analysis that strengthens the case for significant investment in social care, and in particular, demonstrates how enhanced pay for the frontline social care workforce brings benefits to the wider economy.

“As the population ages and expectations of truly human rights-driven, self-directed support rightly grow, the social care sector must no longer be viewed as some expensive burden, but as a thriving engine of inclusive, sustainable growth for the future Scottish economy.”

Professor Nick Watson, Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Glasgow, welcomed the report, saying: “Too often, care is presented as a burden; as something that we, as a society, are forced to provide and as a drain on our economy; using up resources that would be better employed elsewhere.

“In this excellent report, ENABLE have turned the tables on this idea and have been able to show the contribution care and the care sector makes to our economy.

“It is, as the report demonstrates, one of Scotland’s largest industries, employing large numbers of people and generating wealth in the process. The care sector should be seen as an asset to our community and not a burden.

“Investment in the care sector will not just provide better support for those it cares for, it will also help to boost our economy and provide good, secure and rewarding jobs.

“Hopefully, this report will start moving discussions forward and help to change the way the financing and economy of care and the care sector are framed.”

ENABLE Scotland was founded in 1954 by five sets of parents of children who had a learning disability who believed that their children had the same rights as everyone else to live the life they choose.

ENABLE Scotland has grown into one of the country’s largest care charities, with income exceeding £49 million in 2020-21.

Employing 2,200 staff – including 1,800 frontline social care workers – and with 12,000 members and supporters, ENABLE supports over 6,000 people to live independently.