Closure of care homes set to rise as funding crisis continues

If government action doesn’t proceed then insolvencies among care home operators are likely to continue.

Theresa May has been told for months by care home operators, trade unions and charities that the care home industry is in crisis and needs help. Last week, the Prime Minister was asked by the chairs of three Commons committees to deal with the “immense challenge” of paying for health and social care in the future.

Due to a fall in the amount that councils pay towards fees for residents, the rising of costs and the government’s “national living wage” which meant that workers aged 25 or over must be paid at least £7.20 an hour from April 2016, care homes are struggling.

In response to last month’s announcement by Sajid Javid, communities and local government secretary, that councils could increase council tax by an extra 3% to fund social care, Robbie Barr, the chairman of Four Seasons (the biggest care home operator in the country) said:-

“It is essential that councils use the powers they have been given to raise the social care precept and pass it on to frontline elderly social care services to help offset the additional costs of the national living wage increase and avoid further pressures on a sector that is struggling at tipping point.”

Whether this increase to council tax improves the current social funding crisis is yet to be seen. What is certain is the need for the government to respond to the above people and take immediate action on the crisis, instead of continuing to provide temporary solutions to a long term crisis within the sector.

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