Care home fees jump by a fifth

Care home fees have rocketed by nearly 20% in the last two years, according to market analysts.

The average weekly fee for a residential care home bed has grown to £949 a week in 2023-24, up 19% from 2021-22, while the average weekly fee for a nursing home bed is 18% higher at £1,267.

LaingBuisson’s latest edition of Care Homes for Older People reports fee uplifts are likely to reflect wider inflationary pressures on care home providers, such as the surge in energy prices following the war in Ukraine and successive National Living Wage uplifts that have been well above the general rate of pay inflation.

Its analysis found a significant disparity between the amount local authorities and private individuals pay for care.

The average weekly fee paid by councils for nursing care (2023-24) is estimated to be £1,146, while private-pay clients are charged an estimated £1,409 on average (£263 more). The difference is even higher in residential care, at £308 more for private-pay clients.

The North-east has the lowest average weekly fee for nursing care at £1,073, and the North-west has the lowest average residential care fee, at £799 per week. The most expensive fees can be found in the South-east, where people may find themselves paying £1,152 per week on average for residential care, and £1,457 per week on average for nursing care.

William Laing

Report author William Laing said: ‘The hidden story is that those paying for their own care are effectively subsidising the cost of care paid for by local authorities. Using their larger purchasing power, local authorities can drive prices down in negotiation, but this may have resulted in providers being forced to charge more elsewhere. 

‘With social care reform a topic that neither the Conservatives nor Labour Party seemingly wants to tackle ahead of a general election, it appears likely that more and more people will be forced into meeting the cost of care from their savings.’