Blog | Angela Gifford

The Cost of Care - UK

The cost of home care services are rising and will continue to rise. Whether in the years to come, care services are paid or part paid for by government, taxation, insurance products or from an individualís savings, the costs will increase.

There are around 6000 companies providing home care in the UK and working to the legislated standards that apply to care provision. This has ongoing costs associated with ongoing registration and regulations.

Home care companies along with most commercial operations have costs relating to advertising, marketing, communications, equipment, stationery, printing, postage, recruitment, training, health and safety, transport, water, electricity, heating, rent/mortgage on premises, council tax, bank charges, audit costs, legal costs, insurance, etc.

Annually the minimum wage legislation increases the hourly wage rate and care workers using their cars need to be compensated for the increasing cost of fuel.

The legislation relating to temporary workers coming in later this year will have an effect on many companiesí costs as will the pension legislation being phased in from 2012.

The average hourly cost for a social, home care worker is £15.10 per hour* (Live-in care services usually considerably less due to reduced administration costs). Compare this to the average cost per hour for a plumber, £30-£40.00 or a chiropodist/podiatrist £20 - £30.00 per hour.

Many families faced with the need to pay for care for an older or disabled member may resort to what they see as a cheaper option; persuade a person privately to provide the care needed. This has to be put in place responsibly and legally to avoid future possible problems for non compliance with the role of an employer.

There has been research (WHO**) carried out with reference to the engagement of care workers who are outside of any legislated or regulatory bodies. The research showed that where home care workers are not formally employed and therefore outside of regulatory measures there is concern about the quality of care given.

This is particularly relevant in Italy, where there are approximately 2 million home care assistants/ personal assistants, 83% of whom come from outside the country (2006) and only circa 700,000 are formally employed.

This situation is being addressed in England, where in July this year, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow published plans to make it easier for people with disabilities to employ personal assistants which will include developing an induction framework so all PAís have the same basic introduction to the role based on the The Common Induction Standards developed by Skills for Care.

The 6000 home care companies in the UK provide a unique number of flexible and innovative home care services. All are accountable to legislated standards which can be measured. Having a large number of care providers encourages good practices within each organisation and not being state funded any organisation that cannot deliver what it is being paid for, will not survive.

The opportunity to purchase hourly homecare for £15.10 per hour or live-in care for even less, is excellent value in 2012 and despite future, unavoidable increases will continue to be so for a long time to come.

* Source UKHCA
**World Health Organisation
Able Community Care has been established since 1980 and to date has provided over 50 million hours of care to people with high dependency care needs throughout England, Scotland, Wales and The Channel islands. For an information pack on our Live-in Care Schemes please email to or visit our website at

By:† Angela Gifford
Posted:† 9 Jan 2012

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