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Cost of care in the home is a postcode lottery

With an increasing demand for care services, a Which? investigation finds that over the last five years some local authorities have been restricting home care and increasing costs above inflation, leading to a widening postcode lottery in care costs.

Using Freedom of Information requests over the last five years, we asked councils in England and Wales what level of home care they provided each year from 2009 to 2013.

Our latest results show that more than 80% of councils now restrict care to those whose needs are ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’, up from just over 70% in 2009. Of the 26 councils who told us they offered care to people with ‘moderate’ or ‘low’ needs in 2009, only 12 continue to do so.

At the same time, of the 100 councils that responded about their care charges in both 2009 and 2013, around a third (36) have increased charges above the rate of inflation. Barnsley Metropolitan Council has increased its hourly rates the most, by 160%, whereas Tower Hamlets London Borough Council has maintained a zero charge policy and remains the least expensive council for care costs.

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