Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has produced an analysis that further demonstrates the chronic underfunding of adult social care.
New research has found that throughout England, social care providers are expected to deliver person-centred residential care for less than the cost of bed and breakfast in a budget hotel.
A Freedom of Information analysis by Care England found that fees of less than £500 for residential service users continue to be widespread across the country. In broad terms, the cost of a Premier Inn was as much as 18% more than standard residential rates provided by some councils to providers for 2019/20, for example:
- Cambridgeshire City Council paid independent sector providers only £429.00 for a standard residential weekly fee which includes full-time care and meals for 2018/19. While Premier Inn’s Cambridge City East hotel on the day prices for just six days started from £458. With the addition of breakfast setting you back an additional £57 – only further sharpening the already evident funding divide.
- Similarly, at Crewe Central Premier Inn, guest stays for six nights started at £491.00, versus, just £480 being provided to independent sector providers by Cheshire East Council. Again, breakfast included would lead to the overall price increasing to around £548 for bed and breakfast.
- Over the border, in Cheshire West and Chester, the comparisons were a little better with a Premier Inn costing upwards of £447.50 for accommodation alone, whereas, the general residential fee was £456.17 for 2019/20. However, with the addition of breakfast, the gap between Premier Inn prices and the rates granted to independent sector care homes again emerged.
- Wigan Council provided a general residential fee to independent residential sector providers of £441 in 2019/20 while the local Premier Inn cost around £476.50 for a seven-night stay b&b.
- Lastly, in Milton Keynes, some providers were granted just £447.10 in 2019/20 for looking after some of society’s most vulnerable, whereas, the cost of a Premier Inn hotel around the corner was found to be higher at £625 for a seven night stay at Milton Keynes Central (including breakfast).
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“These examples clearly show that social care funding is unacceptably low. If the Government does not increase funding to sustainable levels, some of society’s most vulnerable individuals will be left without care and support. Residential care homes costs cover accommodation, meals, care staff and much more. However, rates set by councils across England fail to meet the true cost of care.
In addition, I sincerely hope that councils will publish new fees for 2020-21, which appropriately reflect the actual costs of providing accommodation and care in a care home setting. Such low funding arrangements, in combination with the 2020 increase to the National Living Wage, have the potential to close services and destroy lives.”