Welsh government announces 20% rise in adult care charge cap

The Welsh government has announced plans to increase the cap on non-residential care charges by 20%, blaming ‘economic pressures’ related to inflation.

The cap on charges for means tested, non-residential care and support services in Wales currently stands at £100 a week, but last week the Welsh Government announced plans to raise this to £120 – despite its long-term plan to move to free adult care services.

a sign on the side of a brick building

‘We remain committed to ensuring individuals pay a fair and reasonable amount towards their care and support whilst we work towards that ambition, however, we cannot ignore the ongoing economic pressures relating to inflationary increases,’ said Welsh deputy minister for social services Julie Morgan in a written statement.

‘Local authorities are under increasing pressure to meet the demand and associated costs of delivering care and support services, a situation not unique to Wales, with challenge seen across the health and social care sectors across the UK.’

The government has launched a consultation on the changes, although under its plans not everyone currently paying £100 a week would end up having to pay more.

‘In maintaining the current cap of £100 for the maximum weekly charge, it has had the effect of reducing the proportion of chargeable income a local authority can receive against the rising costs of providing care,’ Morgan added.

‘We recognise that this proposal to raise the maximum weekly charge is a departure from our ambition of a National Care Service ‘free at the point of need’, however this still remains our longer-term goal for care services in Wales.

‘We will carefully review responses to ensure any decision taken strikes the balance between raising additional income for local authorities to help meet increasing cost pressures, and being fair and affordable for people who pay for the non-residential care and support services they receive.’

According to the consultation document setting out the proposals, the £100 cap was set in 2020, but since then inflation means that goods and services costing £100 in 2020 would have cost £121.40 in October 2023.

Provisional estimates by the Welsh government put the financial benefit to local authorities from a £20 weekly increase at £9.6m a year.

Responding to the plans, Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, said: ‘As a member of the Expert Group that advised the Welsh government on the development of a National Care Service that is free at the point of need, I am appalled that any consideration is being given to increasing non-residential care charges.

‘It seems that the pressures on local government finances are being prioritised over the financial pressure on thousands of disabled people for whom social care support is a necessity but have limited means to pay for it.

‘It is difficult to see from the proposals how Welsh government can guarantee the claim that only individuals who have the financial means to pay an increased maximum weekly charge will do so.’

Image: Jonny Gios

More on this topic:

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Welsh government funds technology projects to transform domiciliary care delivery


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