Home care workers are set to see their pay increased this year after a tie up between Powys Council and home care agencies in the county.

The "Powys Pledge" is a three-year programme aimed at developing the home care – also known as domiciliary care – sector in the county.

Each week, the council commissions more than 10,000 hours of home care from provider agencies to help residents to continue to live independently at home.

Now an extra £1.50 is to be added to the average hourly rate paid to care agencies which sign up to the Bronze level of the Powys Pledge for existing packages of care and support.

However, to meet this standard, agencies must promise to pay at least the National Living Wage of £8.72, rising to £8.91 from April for over-23s.

They must also cover the £225 cost of workers' registration fees, pay for travel time between call-outs, with contact calls forbidden from being back-to-back.

Care workers must also be paid where a care call has been cancelled without enough notice, and care workers must receive two days off a week, unless fewer days off are specifically requested by a care worker.

The agreement, negotiated between the various parties over recent months, will be funded by the council's cabinet agreeing to an extra £1.9 million for the adult social care budget.

Councillor Myfanwy Alexander is the council's cabinet member with responsibility for adult social care.

She said: "We value carers and these changes reflect this. We want to promote a stable and successful private care sector in Powys and the Powys Pledge will give the sector the incentive to develop packages which recognize the vital role of care staff, improving their benefits and opportunities."

Alison Bulman, the corporate director with responsibility for social care, added: "I'm delighted that the council has been able to introduce this extra funding to improve working conditions for home care workers.

"As someone who started my career as a carer I am keen to see recognition for the role that Social Care plays in our society. The last 12 months have really shown how important care workers are, helping those of our family, friends and neighbours who just need support to enable them to continue living independently at home.

"This isn't the end of it though; as the Bronze Level implies, there are Silver and Gold levels to the Powys Pledge too and we will be working with home care agencies over the next two years to introduce further improvements for care workers."