Cash-strapped local authorities have been accused of not paying enough to allow private care providers to cover their costs.
Freedom of information requests sent to over 200 councils and care trusts by the UK Homecare Association have revealed that the average price paid for homecare in the UK is just £16.12 per hour.
This is almost £2 per hour less than UKHCA’s minimum price for homecare of £18.01 per hour.
Over 850,000 people are given support in their own home, about 80% of which is organised by councils. The work is then normally outsourced to care agencies.
UKHCA, the umbrella group for care firms, calculates that the UK’s homecare sector needs at least £402m per year to ensure homecare providers can meet their statutory obligations, including paying carers the National Living Wage.
The size of the deficit this year would be £921m if national governments and local councils committed to paying carers the Real Living Wage, UKHCA warned.
The UKHCA’s report, The Homeware Deficit 2018, notes that there is evidence of providers ‘ceasing trading and handing back homecare contracts’ on the basis of ‘inadequate fee levels.’
The report estimates that almost one third of councils in England (48) have seen homecare providers closing or ceasing to trade during a six-month period this year.
Adult social care currently amounts to almost 40% of council budgets and local authorities face a shortfall in care funding of £3.5bn by 2025.