Massive rise in care charges

Fees for elderly people receiving help with tasks like washing, dressing and eating have risen by an average of 45 per cent since 2007, with councils using stealth tactics to disguise the steepest increases.

In Bath and North East Somerset, the bill for a pensioner receiving three hours of care a day has risen 370 per cent, from £65 a week three years ago to £303 this year.

In Gateshead the weekly cost rose more than threefold to £378 over the same period.

The research also revealed a postcode lottery in fees for home care.

The highest weekly charge was in Surrey, at £440, while two London councils, Newham and Tower Hamlets, made no charge at all.

Charities for the elderly said the findings exposed an “unfair and crumbling” system which is failing tens of thousands of families.

They urged the Government to launch a radical overhaul of the charges when it publishes its Green Paper on long-term care, which is expected to be published within a week.

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