The average weekly cost of private residential care in Great Britain is £848, according to analysis from Legal & General Retail Retirement. However, the data indicates a significant difference in care costs at a local level, varying by more than £800 a week across the country – that’s £41,600 a year.
The most expensive areas for residential care costs are overwhelmingly in Greater London boroughs, with Islington (£1,488), Westminster (£1,483) and Hammersmith & Fulham (£1,468) topping the tables for weekly costs. Outside of the capital, Windsor & Maidenhead (£1,203) and Elmbridge, Surrey (£1,142) have the highest costs for private residential care.
With care costs so significant, one in four residents will run out of money at some point, emphasising the need to plan for the cost of care early in retirement.
However, there are areas in the country where the care costs are lower, with Stoke-on-Trent (£646), Blackpool (£644) and Merthyr Tydfil (£641) having some of the lowest costs for residential care in Great Britain. The least expensive cost is £621 a week in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. [Specific costs for every council across Great Britain available upon request]
“Knowing what care you or a family member needs, and how to find it, isn’t easy. We have shone a light on the struggles many families face in our ‘Caring for Britain’ paper, with some 1.3 million older people requesting care each year, but only around 700,000 getting it. As the number of over 80s steadily rises, demand is only set to increase, highlighting the need for more innovation from public, private, charity and social enterprise sectors to make the choices families face easier to navigate.
“We also know that very few families plan their finances to take into account later life care. On average, people can expect to pay more than £800 a week for private residential care, which is more than double the average weekly income for people in retirement (£320), according to the Department for Work & Pensions. Care can be one of the more expensive costs someone will encounter in their life. It’s important that people get advice so they are aware of the cost implications and benefit options for residential care, particular to their area, so that they can then realistically plan ahead and anticipate how much they need to have set aside. If you are living in an expensive location, such as London, for instance, you need a lot more money to fund care and the risk of running out of money is much higher. We want to help people find not only the right care, but the very best care they can afford.”
Dr. Sam Roberts, managing director of Health and Care, Legal & General Retail Retirement
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Table: Varying care costs across most populated UK cities
Differences in the cost of private care and council paid fee
Even in many of the least expensive locations for residential care in Britain there is a disparity between the cost of private care and the local council paid fee. On average, there is a £229 difference in this figure across Great Britain.
The biggest difference is in Hammersmith & Fulham, London, at £814 and the smallest difference can be found in Bristol, where there is just a £20 disparity. This is particularly relevant as research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that the amount of money spent per person on long-term care by the state has fallen by 31% over the last decade, with cuts varying considerably geographically.