A LANDMARK decision by Gwynedd Council to fund nearer to the “true cost” of running care homes will ramp up pressure on other local authorities in North Wales to follow suit.

That’s the message from social care champions Care Forum Wales (CFW) who welcomed fee increases of up to 25 per cent which they hailed as a “victory for common sense”.

Until now Gwynedd have worked closely with other North Wales councils when calculating the fees for care homes and nursing homes.

But at a Cabinet meeting, councillors voted unanimously in favour of “stepping away from the North Wales standard fees”.

They have set aside an extra £1.6 million to pay for the hikes in fees for the different types of social care.


Mary Wimbury, Care Forum North Wales.

Mary Wimbury, Care Forum North Wales.


As a result, the weekly fee per person for Residential EMI care in Gwynedd has increased by 19.8 per cent to £780 while the rate for Nursing EMI care has gone up by 24.7 per cent to £900.

That means funding for Nursing EMI in Gwynedd is now £5,124 more a year per person than for exactly the same level of care across the Menai Suspension bridge in Anglesey.

For a 40-bed care home, which is the average size in Wales, that’s a difference of £204,960 a year between the two counties separated by the Menai Strait.

According to CFW, unless councils pay the real cost of care it increases the burden on hard working families and amount to a stealth tax as they have to make up the difference, to prevent care homes not being financially viable and closing.

Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of CFW, said: “We are grateful to the councillors in Gwynedd for acknowledging their responsibilities and adopting a more realistic approach to setting fee levels to reflect the real costs of providing care.

“This decision is hugely significant because it hopefully signals the end of the iniquitous North South divide in social care.

“Apart from Gwynedd, all the other North Wales councils are lagging way behind in terms of fees, compared to authorities in South East Wales.

“The fact that Gwynedd have essentially broken away from the other local authorities in North Wales ramps up the pressure on others to finally do the right thing instead of treating the most vulnerable people in society like second class citizens.

“Anglesey, Denbighshire, Wrexham and Flintshire are all still paying rock bottom fees. The fees are so low that providers are having to refuse placements of potential residents because they don’t cover anywhere near the true costs of care. Wrexham and Conwy have promised in year reviews of their fees.

“As a consequence those councils are effectively imposing a stealth tax on decent, hard-working families because care homes have been forced to charge top up fees to remain financially viable.

“Even so, we have seen a raft of care home closures in recent times because the social care sector is incredibly fragile as was pointed out by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, even before the pandemic began.”