A 40p pay rise for adult social care staff has been branded “derisory” but Nicola Sturgeon has insisted it is all the government can afford without needing to make any more cuts.

Labour’s Anas Sarwar raised the plight of workers in social care during First Minister’s Questions. It followed a roundtable with the sector organised by the Labour leader on Wednesday. 

He said they told him of the burnout experienced by workers in the sectors, “the fears about the levels of care being offered, and the inability to provide care to those who need.” 

READ MORE: Scottish Autism concerned as they 'haemorrhage' staff

“The workers and experts were clear, this is a problem over a decade in the making, a direct result of decisions made by this government. 

“They told me that many of their colleagues have quit or retired early because of the pressures of the job. And they say the pay does not reward the hard work they do or reflect the importance of the role to society.”

Ms Sturgeon said she did value those who work in social care and agreed that the work they do had traditionally been undervalued.

READ MORE: SNP's John Mason claims problems with NHS being 'somewhat exaggerated'

She told MSPs: “In terms of wages, we are providing £100m of additional funding to uplift pay from April this year, having already increased it so far. And we will continue to do that so that our social care workforce do get the value not just in our rhetoric, but in the pay packets that this will richly deserve.”

Mr Sarwar said the SNP leader was ignoring the facts. “They will be paying £10.90 an hour to social care staff, which represents a 3.8 per cent pay increase. That's 40p at a time when inflation is running at 9%. 

“And when NHS staff are being offered an average of 7.5%. 

“This in the context of a First Minister, who said they will reward social care staff who put their lives on the line to get us through the pandemic. 

“But 40p more in the midst of a cost of living crisis doesn't feel like much of a reward to these workers and it's not going to address the ongoing workforce crisis.”

READ MORE: One in five patients at A&E last week had to wait over eight hours

He called on the Scottish Government to commit to an immediate pay increase to £12 an hour rising to £15. 

She said the £10.90 rate was the same paid by the Labour government in Wales. 

“In terms of pay increases over the past two years, there has been a 14.7% increase for social care workers. Pay has increased from £9.50 per hour in April 2021 To £10.90 which it will become in April this year. 

“For a full time Adult Social Care Worker, that increase represents an uplift of over £780 over the course of this financial year. 

“I want us to go further and we intend to go further. But we have to be able to fund that. 

“To increase pay to £15 per hour for all social care workers as Labour is asking us to do - and I understand why people want to see that happen - would cost up to an additional £1.75bn. 

“Now Labour hasn't set out how they would fund that or what they would propose to cut as a consequence. So yes, we want to see pay increase further. But we have to do that in a properly funded way. That is responsible government.”

Mr Sarwar said the 3.8% was “derisory.”

He said the government's failure to eliminate delayed discharge was costing at least £150m a year and the national care service was estimated to cost £1.3bn. 

He said this should be reallocated to frontline services to “address the current crisis.” 

The SNP leader said Mr Sarwar was taking a “completely irresponsible and incoherent approach” to budgeting.