Truss’ £40bn energy masterplan could ‘save care homes from closure’

Loose Women panel discuss the price of care homes

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As the energy crisis deepens, industry regulator Ofgem warned the price cap for October will hit £3,549 in a staggering 80 percent rise from current levels. While this may be an alarming rise, Ms Truss is expected to announce a £2,500 bills freeze for households on Thursday as one of her first acts as Prime Minister

But currently, a price cap is only placed on households, meaning that businesses and care homes’ bills have no limits.

The National Care Association, which represents small and medium-sized care homes, has warned that care homes could see rises of ten-fold or more.

But on Thursday, Ms Truss is also expected to unveil a £40billion support package to help businesses struggling to cope with skyrocketing gas and electricity prices.

Chris Donnelly, the co-founder of Lottie, the digital platform connecting care seekers to care homes, argues that care homes across the UK could avoid closing if Ms Truss’ care package includes a cap on business’ bills.

He said: “Care homes across the UK are desperately trying to find a solution for the rising energy costs that don’t impact the residents – or their families.

“If Liz Truss delivers on the promise of freezing energy bills for homes and businesses across the UK, it could prevent care homes who are facing closure over the next few months – and subsequently protect the older generations living in homes across the country.

“From financial worries experienced by care sector workers, to keeping up with the high energy costs of running a care home (just like many businesses and industries), the care sector is feeling the impacts of the rising cost of living and energy crisis.”

This comes as care homes across the country face potentially astronomical bill rises which could push them to the brink of closure.

One care home, Cheswardine Hall, could see bills go up to a staggering £125,000 in a huge 600 percent rise. The care home’s general manager Dominic Poole told The i that bills were around £20,000 last October under a two-year fixed term contract

He said if he accepts a new contract, which has soared alarmingly due to spiralling energy costs, he would have to add an extra £100 per week onto residents’ fees.

And Mr Donnelly urged the new Prime Minister not to go back on her promises. He said: “Care home operators are now facing 100 percent increases in their energy bills this winter, which is a very frightening scenario. Homes can’t switch off their heating – as this would severely impact residents.

“Without this promised support, many homes could be forced into closure.

“We’re already seeing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and energy costs on the homes, with operators reviewing costs, opting for cheaper ingredients for food, and some homes are now at risk of closure.”

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He added: “This is only going to get worse as the winter months begin.

“Unless there is financial support or intervention from the Government – as promised by the Prime Minister – care homes could face closure, putting the livelihood of older generations at risk. What’s more – the staff who are at the heart of every care home – will be affected, as the cost-of-living crisis will take its toll, both financially and mentally.”

But this also comes after Ms Truss pledged to divert billions of funding away from the NHS and into the care sector, which is reportedly on its knees.

Mr Donnelly appeared to welcome the promised funding boost to social care. He said: “Again, I’m hopeful that Liz Truss will deliver on her pledge to divert a greater share of healthcare spending towards social care improvements. If there are even more delays, we’re putting the older generations’ health, wellbeing, and livelihood at risk.”

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