Self-funders charged £12,500 more than council-funded residents

Stephen Lowe, group communications director, Just Group

Care home residents in England who pay their own fees are charged on average £12,500 a year more than those whose bill is paid for by local authorities.

Analysis by financial services company Just Group showed that the average fee per year for self-funders was £44,252, compared with the £31,720 paid by councils, averaging to more than £1,000 a month extra for self-funders.

Figures showed the South East of England experienced the largest fee difference, with self-funded residents paying an average of £55,276 per year compared with the £36,920 fee for council-funded residents.

The North East had the lowest fee difference with self-funders paying an average of £34,788 per year compared with £29,536 for council-funded residents.

‘These figures start to explain why people think care fees are unfair when those footing their own bill are charged many thousands of pounds a year more than another person who could be in the same home and receiving the same care but paid for by the local authority,’ said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group.

‘The proportion of care home firms operating this differential pricing has also increased markedly, according to the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), with about 90% of homes now charging self-funders more than they charge councils compared to about 20% back in 2005,’ Lowe added.

The CMA’s report found the fees paid by councils were below the costs of running care homes, leading them to raise prices to self-funders to prop up their finances.

Lowe said a lack of government progress on reforming the social care market was putting more pressure on those needing care and their families.

‘It is inequitable, some families having to raise hundreds of thousands in order to pay for the costs of care, others are getting those met, or at least partly met. There is a real sense of anxiety this is causing, and we need to address it,’ he said.

In an interview in The Sunday Times yesterday (1 September), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said councils are set to receive £3.5bn of additional funding, including for social care, in Wednesday’s spending round.