Local government leaders have renewed calls for urgent action to fix the care home system after report accuses many homes of being substandard.
An investigation by Which? found more than half of care home places in some parts of the country were rated as ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.
These include Westminster in central London where more than two-thirds were rated as below standard, followed by Manchester and Wakefield where three in five beds were substandard.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that many care home companies will fold unless action is taken to plug a £1.3bn gap — rising to £2.3bn by 2020 — between what care home companies say they need and the amount councils are able to pay.
Which? says the system is not working and has called on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is carrying out a review of the care home market, to press the Government to take urgent action.
The Government has said it will issue a green paper on social care next summer.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA's community wellbeing board, said: 'These findings show that the social care crisis is very real and that already we are seeing the consequences of the chronic underfunding of the system on providers and the quality of care.'
She warned: 'If the system is left to carry on as it is, then we will see more and more providers either pulling out of council contracts or going out of business altogether.'