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Thirty councils found to be underpaying private providers

January 17, 2020

New figures show how poorly essential care for older people is funded by some local authorities. Provider representative body Care England has a list of 30 councils that pay less than £500 a week for an older person in an independent residential care home, equivalent to £2.97 per hour.

Care England says such fee levels are radically lower than those quoted in independent research by sector analysts LaingBuisson, which set out the average costs of an economically run residential home. The LaingBuisson analysis finds the cost of an economically run home is between £623 to £726 depending on standard of accommodation and whether or not they are supporting people living with dementia.

An analysis by Care England of information obtained under Freedom Of Information provisions showed that some councils within the above list of 30 local authorities paying less than £500 to independent care homes were paying their own local authority run homes much higher rates. For example, one council was found to be paying more than £650 a week to their own homes while paying less £500 a week to independent sector homes.

Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said it was unacceptable that independent care homes must restrict the pay and conditions of their staff and subsidise care which councils underfund.

“Ultimately, independent care homes may close with the terrible consequences for residents forced to find new homes and staff losing their jobs,” said Prof. Green.

“It cannot be right that older people in independent homes are treated so differently when they are aiming, as all independent homes are, to provide good quality care with well paid staff. The recently announced significantly increased 2020/21 rates for the National Minimum Wage will put even more stress on underfunded homes and means paying homes under £500 for residential care can simply no longer be justified.”

Care England has written to all of these 30 councils to ask how they plan to ensure care is better funded in future.

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