United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Homecare market under threat from low council fees - 08/10/2015

Independent and voluntary sector homecare providers receiving low fees from local authorities could be forced into withdrawing from care, or going out of business, according to a recent United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) survey. The findings compound an already critically underfunded care system.

The survey gathered data from a total of 492 homecare providers in the UK, with 63% of them trading with one or more local authorities. Many providers have indicated that they are already forced to hand back contracts for people’s care to their local authorities which purchase them because prices paid are uneconomic.

Strong evidence suggests that the homecare sector faces significant instability over the next year, with 74% of providers trading with councils stating that they would have to reduce the amount of publicly funded care they deliver. This is estimated to affect 50% of all the service users they support.

Only 38% of providers were completely confident that they would still be in operation at the same time next year. According to the survey, 11% of all providers thought that they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ have stopped trading within the next twelve months.

The majority of providers (71%) believe that fee levels would not meet the extra costs when the new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour when it comes into effect next April. 74% of providers responding said that the extra costs would affect the quality of care if it were not fully funded.

In a warning to local councils that providers’ willingness to bid for new contracts could be at risk, 50% of those with a tender opportunity with a council decided not to bid for at least one of the contracts on offer, because they felt the price the council would pay successful bidders was too low to run a viable business.

Colin Angel, Policy Director at UKHCA said:

“A stable, effective homecare sector is vital to over 883,000 older and disabled people who rely on homebased care each year. The low fees paid by local councils and a lack of funding for the new National Living Wage, places the future of the home care market in an extremely vulnerable position.

“Rapid withdrawal from the homecare sector will create an additional burden on underfunded councils, who should be prioritising care for people who rely on home–based care, not dealing with local market failure to which they themselves have contributed.”


Notes for Editors

  1. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  2. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community.
  3. UKHCA’s Market Stability Survey 2015 will be published on Wednesday 7 October from: Embargoed copies are available on request.
  4. Providers in the sample deliver a total of 887,962 hours of care per week (whether funded by councils or other sources) to 85,000 people in their own homes. Businesses of all different sizes were covered in the survey, as respondents reported delivering services to between 1 and 2,714 people per location (median 100 people per branch).
  5. There are over 9,100 registered homecare providers across the UK, the majority of which (84%) are in the independent and voluntary sectors. We estimate that these organisations employ over 438,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 6.29 million hours of care per week to around 536,000 service users, valued at £5.2 billion per annum.
  6. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.
  7. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.
  8. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at
  9. A high resolution royalty-free image of Colin Angel, Policy Director, is available for use.
  10. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.
  11. For further information please contact:

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993

Registered in England, No. 3083104.

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