Care England has accused councils being “heartless” and “abandoning the elderly” after many failed to increase their care home fees last year.
The representative body for independent care services said one in five councils responding to its Freedom of Information (FoI) request had offered no fee increase in 2018/19 despite cost and wage bills rising by up to 5%.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “These councils pay care homes just £350 a week for 24hr care, seven days a week. By failing to properly fund their care, they are abandoning old people. To give no real increase in fees when costs have risen by over 4% is an insult.
Of the councils responding to Care England’s FoI request, one in five made no increase in the baseline rate for nursing home beds; 18% of councils reported that they gave no increase for nursing with dementia beds; and 22% of councils reported no increase for residential care home beds, including residential care beds for older people with dementia.
Responding to the Care England report, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government as a whole means adult social care services still face a £3.6bn funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care.
“The sad reality is that the underfunding of the sector is threatening the quality of care on offer for older and disabled people and its availability. This means that an increasing number of providers are either pulling out of public contracts or going out of business.
“The current system of social care is unsustainable and will buckle under the weight of demand. We are calling on government to urgently publish its much-delayed adult social care green paper to resolve the long-term future of care and support and provide a sustainable solution to these essential services.”