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Welsh Government urged to peg social care cost rises to inflation rate

12 May 2024 3 minute read
Age Cymru is warning that current proposals could raise social care costs by up to £1,300 a year

A leading charity is urging the Welsh Government to limit social care cost rises to the rate of inflation.

Age Cymru is warning that the government’s current proposals could raise social care costs by between £15 and £25 per week, or up to £1,300 a year, to continue their current levels of support.

Currently the maximum amount people have to pay for their social care at home is limited to £100 per week under the ‘Fairer Charging’ rules in Wales.

Wellbeing

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says “We’re worried that an increase in care costs will lead to some older people reducing or even cancelling the support services that are currently keeping them safe and well.

“Many older people live on low, fixed incomes, and are already facing higher food and energy bills as well as significant hikes in council tax.

“This could have significant impacts on older people’s wellbeing in all parts of Wales by making care more expensive and impacting the funds individuals have to cover other increasing costs. It may also create additional pressures for both health and social care further down the line.

“The social care system and the way we pay for care both need fundamental change. Seeking to raise additional money from those who need care will do little to achieve the investment needed to transform services.”

In its 2024 survey of more than 1300 older people Age Cymru also found issues with the current system with 52% saying it was difficult or very difficult to understand the charging policy.

Consultation

The Welsh Government launched a public consultation on changing the regulations on local authority charging for adult care and support services in February, which ends on 15 May.

The consultation document says the Welsh government needs to address “the financial pressures on local authorities due to inflation and rising demand for care and support services”.

Currently, a third of adults in Wales who receive non-residential care and support services from their local council pay the maximum weekly charge of £100.

The consultation document states: “Our proposed change would ensure only individuals who have the financial means to pay an increased maximum weekly charge would do so.

“This would be determined by the usual process, as part of the financial means test carried out by an individual’s local authority. Therefore, not everyone currently paying the maximum weekly amount of £100 would be required to pay an increased amount.”

In December 2023 an initial implementation plan to set up a National Care Service that would offer free social care, was published as part of the cooperation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

In the consultation document it explains: “Whilst raising the maximum weekly cap for non-residential care and support services is an initial departure from the vision to create a National Care Service ‘free at the point of need’, the additional revenue this would raise for local authorities to continue to deliver social care and support services would ensure we can uphold our commitment to long-term, sustainable change.”


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Another Richard
Another Richard
15 days ago

It is clear that the “free at the point of use” principle is barely viable
in the NHS any longer. It is madness to seek to extend it to the bottomless pit of social care.

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