Panicked councils placing heavy burden on private residents
“PANIC-STRICKEN” councils are forcing private care providers to charge their residents more as they struggle to get to grips with funding cuts.
The Commons community and local government committee found that 96 per cent of those who pay for their own care were charged a whopping 43 per cent more on average than state-funded residents in the same home.
Private providers are being “pushed to the brink of financial viability,” the committee report says, and care receivers in poorer areas are less likely to be subsidised by richer residents — leading to a postcode lottery.
Some local authorities are paying just £2.24 an hour for residential support with Kent Integrated Care Alliance telling MPs it was told to “look to make profits from the privately funded service users.”
But MPs wrote in the report: “We do not believe it is acceptable for self-funders to pay higher costs for the same care in order to subsidise the costs of local authority-funded clients.
“This is polarising the market, with providers in more affluent areas more able to cross-subsidise their fees than those in poorer areas.”
More than a quarter of care services were inadequate and the committee also identified a poorly trained workforce with a staggering 24 per cent of carers administering medication despite not being trained to do so.
Some 27 per cent of the workforce had no dementia care training.
MPs warned that Chancellor Philip Hammond’s promise of an additional £2 billion for social care over the next three years did not address the social care funding gap.
But the Local Government Association puts the gap at £2.6bn each year.
The committee called on the government to consider ring-fencing levies from income tax or introduce a compulsory new social insurance scheme.
Labour social care spokeswoman Barbara Keeley said the report was “yet more evidence of government failure on social care.”
She said: “The underfunding of social care is hitting the care workforce with nearly half of all care staff on zero-hours contracts and hundreds of thousands of them scandalously earning less than the living wage.”
A government spokeswoman said that councils have been given an extra £2bn to help deliver services and claimed that this would bring the total to £9.25bn over the remainder of this parliament.