Independent care home providers are being paid less than £500 per week, or just £2.97 an hour, to look after the elderly, according to research.
The list of 30 councils was gathered through FOI requests by Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care.
Care England said the fee levels were radically lower than the average costs of an economically run residential home as revealed by research by LaingBuisson. The LaingBuisson analysis found average weekly care home costs ranged from £623 to £726, dependent on standard of accommodation and whether or not they were supporting people living with dementia.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “It is 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.”
Care England’s analysis revealed that some councils within the list of 30 local authorities were paying less than £500 to independent care homes while providing much higher rates to their own homes. One council, for example, was found to be paying £650 for its own care home versus less than £500 to an independent provider.
Martin added: “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.”
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “People of all ages should be able to live the lives they want to lead and councils are committed to doing all they can to make this happen, while working closely with individuals and their families.
“The provider market is an essential part of the care and support system and councils also work closely with local care providers to ensure a good quality market of services. However, given the serious funding and demand pressures facing adult social care there is a known gap between what providers say they need and what councils pay.
“The forthcoming Budget is an important opportunity to address this crucial issue of funding while looking ahead to finding a longer-term, cross-party solution to adult social care, which the Government has committed to achieving and which we at the LGA are happy to play our part in.”