Care charges 'soar by £740 a year since election'

Published on Monday, 16 December 2013 10:12
Written by Daniel Mason

Elderly and disabled people are paying almost £740 a year more for vital home care services under David Cameron, according to figures released today by Labour's Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, Liz Kendall MP.

Ahead of the Second Reading of the Care Bill today in the House of Commons, responses by local authorities to a Labour Freedom of Information request show that:

  • The average cost of home care has gone up by almost £50 a month since the election
  • Charges for meals on wheels have gone up by a fifth
  • Community transport charges have almost doubled

These increases mean that the average annual cost for an older person who pays for ten hours home care and receives five meals on wheels a week has increased to £7,900 a year – up almost £740 since 2009-10.

There are also huge variations in care charges. Whilst home care is free in Tower Hamlets it costs £20.34 an hour in Cheshire East, with an average of £13.37 an hour across England.

In addition, many councils have removed limits on how much elderly and disabled people can be charged for home care. Before the election, 60% of all councils capped the weekly cost of care; now only 36% of councils have a cap in place.

Labour's Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, Liz Kendall MP, said: "Under this Government fewer elderly and disabled people are getting help with their care costs, and more people are being forced to pay more for vital services that help them get up and be washed, dressed and fed.

"These hikes in care charges are a stealth tax on some of the most vulnerable people in society, and vary widely across the country depending on where people live.

"Many elderly and disabled people, and families who want to help their loved ones, will really struggle to pay these charges when they are already facing a cost of living crisis."

Source: Labour Party

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