New figures from market analysts Laing Buisson show that care fees have almost doubled in the last two decades: they were, an average of £844 a week last year – up from £445 in 1998.
Those paying the fees are those with property and savings: anyone with savings under £23,250 can have their fees paid for by their local authority.
“Self-funding” for care home places in 2018 soared to £7.74billion last year- a 95% increase over the £3.97billion spent in 2007.
In the same period, State funding rose by just 14%, from £8.1 billion to £9.1billion, with many councils now imposing tougher criteria on who can, and can’t, receive support. Just 17,100 funded places were agreed last year, compared with 37,300 ten years ago.
George McNamara, head of policy at Independent Age, has described England’s social care system as a “national emergency”. “Every day,” he said, “more and more vulnerable older people are denied access to vital care and support.”
Independent Age figures show that 338,520 older people have had to sell their home to pay for care since 1999 – the year when a Royal Commission proposed that such charges be dropped.
In 2017, the Government promised to publish a green paper on social care by the summer of that year – resolving the debate on how care should be funded… one which was meant to have been speedily addressed in 2011 following the publication of the Dilnot Commission report, which proposed a fixed lifetime cap that an individual could be expected to pay for care costs.
That particular nettle has still to be grasped, although new premier Boris Johnson has pledged to deliver a solution.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “These statistics show that self-funders are getting an increasingly raw deal.
“In effect these people are being hit by a stealth tax and saving the Government a mint – just because they are unlucky enough to need care.”
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