THE Archbishop of York has backed a campaign for the social care sector to receive an immediate £1.4 billion cash boost to make sure workers are paid the so-called Real Living Wage.

Dr John Sentamu said it was "morally wrong" to ask care workers to risk their lives on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic for "poverty pay".

Charity Citizens UK, which is behind the campaign, said around 280,000 social care workers are in insecure and low-paid work that leaves them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

A petition has been launched appealing for Health Secretary Matthew Hancock to adequately fund social care and ensure care workers and all social care sector staff get at least the Real Living Wage of £10.75 an hour in London and £9.30 in the rest of the UK, which is higher than the statutory minimum of £8.72 for adults.

Citizens UK said care workers, academics, unions, faith leaders, teachers and others have come together to back the appeal for better pay and protection for social care sector workers.

Dr Sentamu said: “It is just morally wrong to put our care workers on the front line in the face of infection and potential death, with limited personal protective equipment and to do that for poverty pay.

“For me this is simply unacceptable. I hope that if this epidemic teaches us anything, it will be to draw us back to justice, compassion and love.

“That is why I am proud to support Citizens UK’s campaign for Her Majesty’s Government to prioritise the proper funding of social care, ensuring that every care worker will get paid a Real Living Wage.”

Matthew Bolton, executive director of Citizens UK, said: “Today we are focusing on the social care sector given the huge rates of infection in the country’s care homes.

“These incredible people go out every morning to look after our loved ones, risking their lives to do so, often on the minimum wage.

“It’s important we take the next few weeks to celebrate our key workers, but also to remember that a Real Living Wage should be the least they deserve.”