South West Wales

Pembrokeshire care home ruling 'to cost council £1.5m'

The four care homes in Pembrokeshire
Image caption The four care homes took Pembrokeshire council to the High court last year

A council says a court judgement ordering it to pay higher fees to around 30 private care homes will cost it an extra £1.5m this year.

The High Court told Pembrokeshire council to review its fees after four homes said they were not paid enough to meet their costs.

The council is raising its payment from £390 a week per resident to £448.

Leader John Davies said the rise was "a significant challenge" but the homes said the new rate was disappointing.

The High Court told the council in December to review the fees it paid after four homes were successful in obtaining a judicial review.

Pembrokeshire council said the increase would now be back dated to the start of the financial year and applied to all the privately-run care and residential homes in the county.

It will also make an additional one-off payment to reflect the loss of interest which could have been earned if the new fee had been paid since April.

Mr Davies, said: "This new fee means an additional cost to the council of almost £1.5 million.

"This will inevitably result in a significant challenge to the council in ensuring that it continues to meet its statutory obligations to vulnerable individuals who have been assessed as requiring support."

He said prior to the review the council paid higher fees than some other local authorities in Wales.

"As a result of the review only four others now pay more" he added.

But the manger of the homes that took the case to court said he was disappointed by the revised rate they had been offered.

Mike Davies said it left them under pressure and meant the threat of closure remained.

"We're still analysing how they've come to the new figure but the pressure is still on us," he said.

"We've not been able to increase wages for a few years and there are maintenance costs which have to be paid."

During December's judicial review lawyers representing the group of four homes argued the minimum rate should be £480.

Mr Davies said they were considering whether to seek a second judicial review.

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