United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Older people's homecare at risk from £513 million UK deficit - 25/10/2016

A new report exposes the widespread and systematic underfunding of homecare services for older people (note 1).

The findings provide further evidence of genuine risks to the viability of state-funded homecare services, and the possible consequences for over half-a million people supported at home.

This is despite the increasing recognition that home-based care should be the solution to meeting people's care needs at home, rather than being treated in hospital.

People who rely on homecare services and those who support them are being short-changed by councils, resulting in avoidable pressures on hospitals and community-based health services.

UKHCA's analysis also highlights serious implications for recruiting and retaining homecare workers, who are essential for effective home-based care. Careworkers' pay and conditions are directly affected by low rates paid by councils, which are estimated to purchase around 80% of all homecare in the UK (note 3).

Analysis of Freedom of Information Act enquiries sent to 208 local councils in Great Britain and the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland suggests a £513 million deficit across the UK during 2016/17 (note 4).

The report exposes the postcode lottery of the prices that individual councils are willing to pay for essential care services, even within the same region.

Homecare providers' costs will continue to rise, particularly as the new statutory National Living Wage increases from its current £7.20 per hour to around £9.00 by 2018-19. UKHCA notes that homecare providers in many parts of the country need to pay considerably higher than the National Living Wage in order to recruit workers with the skills, abilities and experience needed to deliver safe and effective care.

UKHCA's Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:

"We know that an ageing population is increasing demand for homecare services. Councils which decide to pay inadequate rates for homecare are taking major risks with people's wellbeing and the jobs of local people who provide care.

"We have already seen evidence of homecare providers leaving the state-funded care market, or closing their doors for good because they cannot afford to remain in business."

The £513 million funding gap in state-funded homecare care requires urgent action from Government and individual councils, according to the Association.

UKHCA calls on central Government (and devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) to make adequate funding available to councils and Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland. This is on the basis that properly funded homecare provides the services that people need, and will dramatically ease the pressures on an over-stretched national health service.

Governments of each of the UK's four administrations should ensure that councils actually use additional funds intended for social care, to avoid the current postcode lottery and instability in local care markets.

UKHCA says that individual councils must continue to make hard financial decisions which enable them to allocate a greater proportion of their income to homecare services. For councils in England, this includes continuing to raise an additional 2% of council tax as part of the "Social Care Precept" from 2017 onwards.

Colin Angel continued:

"People who use homecare services are already experiencing the consequences of unstable care markets.

"Underfunded homecare is an urgent situation, which must not be allowed to continue."


Notes for Editors

1. The Homecare Deficit 2016 and a range of infographics for use on social media will be published at 06:00 hrs on Tuesday 25 October 2016. The report can be found at

2. United Kingdom Homecare Association is a member-led professional association, whose mission is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community.

3. There is no national collection of data about the volume of privately purchased homecare in the UK. We estimate that state-funded care accounts for around 80% of all homecare purchased.

4. UKHCA calculates that the total £513 million deficit for 2016/17 is distributed across the four UK nations as follows:

* England: £360 million

* Wales: £23 million

* Scotland: £72 million

* Northern Ireland £58 million

5. Based on data received from 208 councils in Great Britain and the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland, UKHCA calculates that the average price paid for older people's homecare in each UK administration is as follows:

* England: £14.66 per hour

* Wales: £14.99 per hour

* Scotland: £14.74 per hour

* Northern Ireland: £12.35 per hour

6. UKHCA publishes a regularly updated Minimum Price for Homecare, which was £16.70 per hour at the time that our Freedom of Information requests were sent to councils in Great Britain and Northern Ireland's Health and Social Care Trusts. Full details of the assumptions used to calculate this Minimum Price are available at

7. The weighted average prices paid in each of the nine government regions and the three devolved administrations were:

* Northern Ireland: £12.35

* North East: £12.60

* North West: £12.95

* Yorkshire & Humber: £14.11

* Greater London: £14.21

* West Midlands: £14.30

* Scotland: £14.74

* East Midlands: £14.78

* Wales: £14.99

* Eastern: £15.15

* South East: £16.68

* South West: £16.86

8. 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.

9. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at

10. A high resolution royalty-free image of Colin Angel, UKHCA's Policy Director is available from

11. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.

12. For further information please contact:

Michelle Gederon, Press Officer
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH
Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07867 450138

Registered in England, No. 3083104

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