Care home fees jump to £33,000 a year – push­ing cost of av­er­age stay over £80,000

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE - Sam Brod­beck

Av­er­age care fees have risen above £33,000 this year, mean­ing the past 12 months saw costs rise at the fastest rate on record.

The 9.6pc in­crease be­tween 2016 and 2017 was nearly dou­ble the pre­vi­ous year’s rise and, as­sum­ing a two-and-a-half year stay in a home, takes the av­er­age to­tal cost of care to £84,760.

The na­tion­wide sur­vey of homes, con­ducted by Pres­tige Nurs­ing + Care, a home­care firm, found the East of Eng­land had the high­est av­er­age fees at £40,820 a year. By com­par­i­son, pa­tients in York­shire and the Hum­ber paid £28,964 a year.

Costs in the East Mid­lands rose the most in the past year, by 17.7pc to £33,956. Prices in the North East rose by 16.3pc to £25,636, just ahead of the West Mid­lands’ 16pc rise to av­er­age an­nual fees of £33,228.

Pen­sioner in­comes are fail­ing to keep pace. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment data, the av­er­age pen­sioner’s in­come rose by just 0.5pc over the same pe­riod, to £14,522. As a re­sult, the av­er­age in­come can only pay for five months of care.

Pres­tige Nurs­ing + Care’s Jonathan Bruce said: “The ris­ing cost of care will eat away at a grow­ing num­ber of fam­i­lies’ fi­nances as they use their as­sets to meet bills. This reinforces the fact that we are fac­ing a se­ri­ous and pro­longed so­cial care cri­sis.

“Spi­ralling costs mean peo­ple must talk about how they will fund care for them­selves or their loved ones.”

The re­search also com­pared the cost of re­ceiv­ing care at home as a cheaper al­ter­na­tive. Based on the 12 hours a week of care that “at home” pa­tients typ­i­cally re­ceive, costs can be as low as £183 a week, or £9,156 a year.

Theresa May at­tempted to ad­dress the care fund­ing cri­sis in the Con­ser­va­tive man­i­festo ahead of the June elec­tion.

Her plan in­volved chang­ing how the state as­sesses an in­di­vid­ual’s wealth when de­cid­ing when the Gov­ern­ment picks up the bill.

Un­der the plan, coun­cils would have started pick­ing up the tab for care once a per­son’s as­sets fell be­low £100,000, as op­posed to the cur­rent level of £23,250 in Eng­land.

But, cru­cially, fam­ily homes would also be in­cluded in the meanstest­ing for­mula for “at home” care for the first time. At the same time, the plan for a life­time cap – which would have helped those who needed long pe­ri­ods of care – was dropped.

The Tories quickly back­tracked over the lat­ter, which Labour called the “de­men­tia tax”, and con­firmed that there would be an over­all cap af­ter all, as promised in its 2015 man­i­festo.

A con­sul­ta­tion on the re­vised pro­pos­als has yet to be pub­lished.

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