Latest Public Sector News

27.07.17

Families having to pay extra ‘stealth tax’ for state-funded social care

The families of around one in four care home residents are being forced to pay ‘top-up fees’ even though care for their loved one is supposed to be free.

In the latest ‘Behind the headlines’ report by Age UK, it was revealed that almost 50,000 families in the UK are having to pay fees which are meant to be voluntary.

But the charity claimed that in many cases this system is being abused, as families are forced to cough up for extra cash to look after their family member in care.

To qualify for state-funded support with care, families must show they have ‘modest’ assets, currently up to the value of £23,250. But even people who are passing this test are now having to pay a ‘stealth tax’, which can amount to anywhere between £25 to over £100 a week.

The charity stated that in theory top-ups can be a good idea, as they allow the person being cared for to decide if they pay more for better-quality care. But Age UK explained that the system is worryingly being exploited, with some having to pay these top-up fees even when they do not want to.

“This provision was designed to allow older people who want a little extra comfort or convenience to have it, through them adding to their council funding with a financial contribution from someone else who is willing and able to pay the additional amount,” the report explained – but added that sometimes, a lack of choice around care homes leaves poorer families with no choice but to pay extra money. 

A sign of ‘stark reality’ of social care crisis

Local councils have also described the new report as another indication of the “stark reality” facing adult social care, which is at a tipping point and desperately needs better funding.

“Councils want to do everything they can to make sure that those who move into a care home are close to their loved ones, and to minimise any stress and difficulties that this places upon families,” said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

“The £2bn announced in the Spring Budget was a step in the right direction. But councils need to be given full freedom and flexibility to invest this in the areas where it is most needed. The recent announcement around how this should be spent shows this freedom is very much lacking.”

Cllr Seccombe added that even after this extra funding is accounted for, councils will still be facing an annual funding gap in social care of £2.3bn by 2020.

“It is absolutely critical that the government brings forward its consultation for social care announced in the Queen’s Speech, and that it works with local government leaders in delivering a long-term sustainable funding solution for social care,” she concluded.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >