Wirral Council approves care home fee cut plan

WIRRAL Council has approved plans to save £5million by reducing the amount it pays in care home fees.

The council says the change, recommended by an independent Task Force and one of the questions on the Wirral’s Future: Be a Part of It consultation, would bring the charges in line with neighbouring councils.

Care home owners who spoke to Wirral News said they were concerned about the impact the decision would have.

But Councillor Bob Moon, cabinet member for social services, said the current rate – around 9.5% more than other local authorities – was “not an efficient use of taxpayers’ money” when the council faced major budget challenges.

He said: “Following our recent budget consultation, an independent Task Force recommended that the Council should bring fees in line with other neighbouring areas. “Public feedback also led the group to recommend that residential and respite care should be procured from the private and voluntary sector.

“We have consulted the care home owners throughout this process and some have been involved in drafting the contract.

“We hope that they will work with us to deliver the high standards that we want to provide for Wirral residents.”

The move was backed by the Independent Disabled People’s Forum. Chair Sue Lowe, Wirral’s Disabled Volunteer of the Year, said: “Providers will finally start providing what customers want instead of what they think we need.”

But one care home owner, who asked not to be named, said: “This is a business that provides a valuable and needed service to the community.

“It’s regulated by a government body, the Care Quality Commission, which is striving to improve standards.

“You’ve also got the government dictating a minimum wage, tax and other issues around staff.

“But then you’ve got local government talking about how much they’re prepared to pay for all of that and they’re trying to cut it year on year.

“The people who will suffer are Wirral residents.”