Care homes have shut at a rate of more than one a month in the last two years, new figures suggest.
Northamptonshire County Council figures show 10 privately-owned care homes across the county closed last year and 17 the previous year.
omparable to the cost of paying for a room in a Travelodge for a seven day periodLabour Councillor Mary Butcher
The Labour group at County Hall claims that one of the main reasons has been that the county council pays one of the lowest rates per week per resident for residential care in the country.
They say such underinvestment leads to smaller homes becoming unviable.
Councillor Mary Butcher (Lab, Oakley) said: “On average, the council pays £437 per resident per week – comparable to the cost of paying for a room in a Travelodge for a seven day period.
“It’s one of the lowest rates in the country and it just isn’t enough to provide the warm care elderly and vulnerable people want and need. It means that either people requiring care or their families have to pay extra.”
When homes close, the local authority has a duty to find alternative places, which often are away from friends and family.
Councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northall) said: “From a Conservative point of view these closures are just part of the free market adjusting itself and these, often smaller and inefficient homes are left to go bust in a belief that bigger homes often run by bigger companies can come into the market and take up the slack.
“But this philosophy doesn’t take into account the trauma and inconvenience these elderly, sick and vulnerable residents have to put up with.”