Industry body Care England has said fees being offered by Essex County Council for care home services are inadequate and threaten home closures.
Care England said higher costs from the introduction of the National Living Wage and high dependency residents were not being considered by some councils who expected operators to subsidise care.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “Without adequate resourcing care homes will simply cease to exist. They cannot afford to run at a loss.
“Essex County Council needs to ensure that it funds the cost of care otherwise there will be closures leading to unnecessary stress on many of the county’s most vulnerable people and their families. Care homes are of course a vital part of the local economy providing employment and also the backbone to the NHS.”
Care England said that while Essex County Council had conducted a thorough Costs of Care Exercise it had conceded it was unaffordable to raise all rates at the cost of care.
Professor Green added: “There seems little point conducting a Costs of Care Exercise without adhering to the results. Our members have a good working relationship with Essex County Council and want to work with them to ensure that their residents are in a position to be in receipt of the best quality care. It is, however, unsustainable for a council to conclude what it costs to fund care then pay less than this cost, and expect the independent sector to fund the difference.”