Only one in seven councils pay the recommended minimum price for elderly homecare

Local authorities are underfunding homecare on a massive scale and are buying homecare for the elderly “on the cheap,” a major report by the association representing the providers of homecare has found.

The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) found that the average councils in the UK has spent just £16.12 per hour, almost £2 less than the UKHCA’s official minimum price for homecare of £18.01.

It says its major report “exposes the scale of underfunding of a fragile state-funded sector,” with only one council in seven paying a fair price for care.

The UKHCA calculated that the UK’s homecare sector needs at least an additional £402m per year just to ensure that homecare workers are paid the statutory National Living Wage and ensure that homecare providers are providing their statutory obligations.

If the government and local councils were to commit to raising the status of the homecare workforce to the independently calculated real living wage, the size of the deficit would rise to £921m.

The report discovered that 54% of councils had undertaken some form of cost of care exercises with their providers during the previous three years.

Only 34% of councils could provide the UKHCA with their own calculations of the cost of homecare during the last year. Two councils, one in Sunderland and one in Northern Ireland, “astonishingly” paid an average price below £13.08 an hour.

The UKHCA says they believe this would only cover the wage bill and reimbursing mileage, leaving the council unable to pay any other costs of running the business.

The homecare association says the current state of the sector suggests either a nation-wide risk of non-compliance with the national minimum wage, or the potential for providers to go out of business.

The average price for an hour of homecare for the elderly was higher in Scotland than England, and even higher in Wales at £16.18 per hour.

But Northern Ireland pulled the UK average down, spending just £13.70 per hour on homecare.

Back in 2015, it was first reported that councils were failing to fund the minimum wage in the homecare sector, with 28 out of 203 authorities paying their homecare providers at or above the UKHCA’s minimum price for homecare.


Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


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 >

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 >

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 >


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

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News