Here's how much the average weekly cost of residential care is for the over-65s in Bedford

And the figure has risen in three years

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:14 pm

The cost of providing social care for older people in Bedford has risen in recent years despite an apparent drop in demand, figures reveal.

Care groups hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's failure to detail long-promised social care reforms in the last week's Queen’s Speech.

NHS Digital data shows the average weekly cost of residential or nursing care for over-65s was £662 in 2019-20.

Although the Queen confirmed proposals for social care reform will be brought forward as she set out the Government’s legislative agenda on Tuesday (May 11), no further detail was given

Three years earlier, that same cost was £583 in real-terms, meaning a care home place cost roughly £4,100 more per year in 2019-20.

There were around 1,180 new requests for local authority support for people aged 65 and over in Bedford in 2019-20, the figures reveal, although that was down from 1,585 in 2016-17.

Overall, the council in Bedford spent £28.9 million on care for older people in 2019-20, including income from people paying towards their own care, and other organisations.

Currently, anyone with assets or savings worth £23,250 or more has to pay the full cost of their care.

People with less than that, but more than £14,250, have to pay a contribution to care costs, while the council will cover the full bill if someone's capital falls below this threshold.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in 2019 that he had a “clear plan” prepared to fix the social care system, and pledged that no one would have to sell their home to pay for spiralling costs.

Thousands across England may well have done and yet run out of cash. In 2019-20, 5,600 over-65s who requested local authority support last year were classified as "self-funders with depleted funds" – those who had exhausted their assets paying for care.

Although the Queen confirmed proposals for social care reform will be brought forward as she set out the Government’s legislative agenda on Tuesday (May 11), no further detail was given.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of the provider membership organisation Care England, said it was "a missed opportunity".

"Without the much-needed, not to mention heralded, reform it is questionable as to how much longer the sector can be expected to limp on," he said.

"A sector that supports and employs vast swathes of the population cannot be ignored."

Chairman of the Independent Care Group Mike Padgham said older and vulnerable people have been betrayed and reform has been “pushed down the road”, while Labour leader Kier Starmer said it was “unforgiveable” that a plan was not laid out in the speech.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman previously said: “Improving the adult social care system remains a priority for this government and we will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

“Throughout the pandemic we have provided almost £1.8 billion in specific funding for adult social care including infection prevention and control measures."