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'Councils underfunding care' warns industry body

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The Home Care Association (UKHCA) has published new data revealing that nine out of ten councils in the UK are underfunding the care of old and disabled people living in their own homes.

The professional body for home carers has found that councils on average pay £2 less an hour than the minimum of £16.70 required to allow for a living wage for their carers.

Local authorities put the underfunding down to the squeeze on their finances by the central government.

However, the UKHCA goes on to warn that the underfunding will threaten the future of the home care market as agencies struggle to recruit and maintain quality standards.

The UKHCA asked 208 councils to provide information about their fees under the Freedom of Information Act.

The £16.70 is the minimum hourly charge required to pay carers the national living wage, cover running costs of the businesses and achieve a profit margin of 50p an hour.

The average paid by councils was £14.58 an hour, with Sefton, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Blackburn paying the least, at under £12.

The average is higher than it was 18 months ago, but the number of councils not paying a "fair price" has increased because the rise has not kept pace with the increased costs which come from paying the national living wage, the UKHCA said.

If you are worried about the funding the care of a parent or a loved one through the Local Authority, call us on 01616 966 229 to ensure minimum financial impact is felt through correct advice on claims, allowances, capital issues and income maximisation to offset the costs of care.