Sheffield City Council (SCC) have announced that they will increase costs paid to care homes in the city by just 5% to meet the COVID-19 response, with a further assurance to meet additional costs incurred.
The announcement has come as a devastating blow for homes caring for the city’s elderly.
Nicola Richards, Managing Director of Palms Row Health Care, which operates three homes in the city commented:
“The Council has clearly recognised that their existing financial support proposal was not good enough. Sadly, the promised increase still falls way short of what’s needed.
“Care England has called for a 15% uplift in fees to help cover the costs and the initial assessment of our own budgets would support that this is the bare minimum needed.”
The Council has received GBP36m from the government to support the COVID-19 response and the Sheffield Care Association has calculated that the latest offer from the Council is worth just GBP1.16m to the city’s care homes over three months. 
The Secretary of State for Communities wrote to council leaders on 30 April 2020 instructing local authorities to pass on a 10% uplift . However, Sheffield City Council briefed the media on 28 April 2020 that they face a GBP34.5m funding shortfall during the COVID-19 crisis .
Ms Richards, who is also Chair of the Sheffield Care Association, continued:
“We continue to work blind. The assurances the Council have given that they will meet ‘additional costs’ just isn’t good enough, especially when they freely admit that they are facing a financial black hole of their own.
“The situation is critical, we need a guaranteed 15% uplift in funding in the short term and certainty of income for the mid-term or many care homes in the city will face closure.
“A full review of funding for our sector has been long overdue and is needed more than ever now. Our sector has supported the most vulnerable during this pandemic it is tragic that providers are now concerned over the viability of our services for the future.”
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 SCC have increased the weekly fee rate for a bed from GBP505 to GBP539 with their 5% increase, a rise of GBP25. This difference equates to GBP325 for a 3 month period. SCC calculate that there are 3,557 beds in the city, even assuming all were occupied and paid for, this increase is GBP1,156,025.
 Local authorities were awarded GBP1.6bn on 19 March 2020 and a further GBP1.6bn on 18 April 2020 to support COVID-19 services such as care homes. The Local Government Association and ADSS recommended councils uplift rates by 10% to meet the COVID-19 challenge. Care England recommends this should be 15%. The Secretary of State for Communities wrote to Councils on 30 April 2020 insisting that 10% is the uplift required, the letter is available to read online
 Sheffield City Council statement to the Sheffield Telegraph (and other media): https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council/sheffield-council-predicts-multi-million-pound-black-hole-due-coronavirus-2552544.
Image by Mark Walker, licensed under Creative Commons via Flickr.