Mark Whitehead 27 July 2017

Care home residents hit with 'top up' stealth tax

A quarter of care home residents whose care is supposed to be free are being forced to pay top-up fees, according to Age UK.

The charity says almost 50,000 families are paying extra, varying from £25 to more than £100 a week and sometimes amounting so thousands of pounds a year.

In its latest Behind the headlines report, Age UK says even those who have met strict means test conditions are being made to pay extra to supplement their local council’s payment.

Local government leaders responded that councils wanted to do everything possible to make sure people who move into a care home are close to their loved ones, but the report showed they were 'at a tipping point' because of a lack of funding.

Izzi Seccombe of the Local Government Association said despite extra money announced in the March budget councils still faced an annual funding gap in social care of £2.3 billion by 2020.

Age UK describes the top-up fees as a ‘stealth tax’ because they are supposed to be voluntary.

It says if there is no local care home place that a council has enough money to pay for, the resident is now sometimes being forced to contribute to their care if they want to live in their chosen area.

Top-up fees are also being demanded when the cost of a care home which the council originally had enough money to fund has gone up or when a ‘self-funder’ has run out of money.

Age UK says councils need to make people aware of their situation and costs should be made clear, and care home contracts should give residents much greater protection against eviction.

Cllr Seccombe said: 'Councils want to do everything they can to make sure that those who move into a care home are close to their loved ones, and to minimise any stress and difficulties that this places upon families.

'But this report is yet another indication of the stark reality facing adult social care, which is at a tipping point, and the need for the sector to be adequately funded.

'The £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget was a step in the right direction. But councils need to be given full freedom and flexibility to invest this in the areas where it is most needed. The recent announcement around how this should be spent shows this freedom is very much lacking.

'Despite this extra funding, this is one-off money, and councils still face an annual funding gap in social care of £2.3 billion by 2020.

'It is absolutely critical that the Government brings forward its consultation for social care announced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with local government leaders in delivering a long-term sustainable funding solution for social care.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Rights Of Way Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£27,741 - £29,577
We are looking for a candidate who has practical experience of working with Rights of Way and access issues and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Casual Assistant Swimming Instructor

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 4 - £11.01 per hour
Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s flagship leisure facility, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Systems Support Analyst

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
We are committed to promoting equality and respecting diversity and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Service Manager

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£59,111 - £67,900 per annum
Create a better quality of life for our most vulnerable children and young people. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Contracts and Commissioning Manager

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within the Adult Learning team that develops and oversees the contracting and commissioning function for this service.  Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue