New ONS figures on self-funded care

October 15, 2021

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published today, reveals that between 2019 and 2020 there were approximately 143,774 (36.7%) self-funded care home residents.

Last year, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) published papers outlining gaps in evidence in social care across the four nations of the UK. The research suggested that not enough is known regarding the volume and value of privately funded provision of adult social care.

A summary of the key findings (source: ONS)

  • The southeast had the highest proportion of self-funders (45.4%) compared with the North East, which had the lowest (24.6%).
  • Care homes located in the least deprived areas had a statistically significantly higher proportion of self-funders (53.8%) than care homes in the most deprived areas (21.6%).
  • Smaller care homes, with 1 to 19 beds, had the lowest proportion of self-funders (15.1%), which is statistically significantly lower than all other care home sizes.
  • Care homes providing care for older people had the highest proportion of self-funders (49.6%); this was statistically significantly higher than care homes providing care for younger adults which had the lowest proportion of self-funders (4.8%).

GMB Union says today’s ONS figures show almost 150,000 self-funding carers are propping up a ‘broken system’.

Years of inadequate local authority funding for the care sector has forced many families who pay for a loved one’s care into financial hardship, the union says.

A previous GMB investigation into social care debt carried out by GMB in 2018 revealed at least 166,000 people were trapped in debt for their social care, with more than 78,000 having debt management procedures started against them and more than 1,000 facing court proceedings.

Pete Davies, GMB Senior Organiser, said, ‘The under-funding and exploitation of our care system has weighed heavy on those who find themselves having to pay for their own care. Many people are paying far above the rate that a local authority would pay for the same service.

‘Care workers can't survive on empty promises by a Government that is turning away from the elderly and most vulnerable in our communities, whilst refusing to recognise the highly skilled workforce.’

GMB is campaigning for at least £15 an hour for care workers.

According to Community Integrated Care, the sector loses 34% of its workforce every year. Frontline care workers are frequently paid £7,000 less than their counterparts in other public funded sectors. Half a million people have left employment in the past two years to become family carers. Hundreds of thousands of people miss out on vital support every year.

The Government has proposed to introduce a UK-wide 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) ringfenced to fund the investment in health and social care. The levy will make available around an additional £12bn per year on average for health and social care across the UK.

Visit the Office for National Statistics website for more information.

In other news, the newly appointed Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, will give a special address at the housing-with-care ARCO conference on 3rd November.


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