Care home boss’s ‘frightening’ gas bill sees costs increase 1,000%

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Joyce Pinfield has pleaded Liz Truss to help Greenacres Care Home, near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, and its 39 residents whom will be impacted by the rising cost of living crisis. It’s been estimated Joyce’s gas cost will rise from just over £9,000 to £105,263 on a two-year contract, a hike of 1,069 per cent. Her electricity contract, secured at the end of June, has additionally risen by 260 per cent.

Worried about how the care home will afford the bills, Joyce wants Liz Truss to announce urgent help for businesses such as hers this winter.

“I find it too horrific to think about,” the business owner told Mirror.

“You just cannot cut any more costs. I may have to go to the bank and say I can’t pay the mortgage, that might be the only answer. It’s a last resort. There would be nowhere else to go after that.

“I am accepting a lot of people out of hospital with high complex needs. There is no way we can cut electricity or heating; I even have the heating on now for a couple of hours in the morning and evening. I’m going to plead to the local authority to give us more funding.”

Joyce’s fears echo those of other independent business owners across the UK. The Independent Care Group says 81 per cent of its members across North Yorkshire, for instance, fear they may be unable to meet rising costs. The South East Social Care Alliance say 45 per cent of its members have considering exiting the market. 

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says the organisation is also “extremely worried”.

She said: “If the worst happens and a home has to close, residents have to be moved somewhere else – which is incredibly disruptive, confusing and distressing, particularly for those who are extremely frail or living with dementia. If we were to see a wave of care home closures we would also worry that there would simply not be enough other settings able to take residents in.

“The Government cannot possibly allow a situation to develop this winter in which many care homes can no longer afford to operate, because of eye watering energy bills.

“We haven’t got enough care home beds as it is at the moment and to lose substantially more would be catastrophic for our older population, and their families.”

A Government spokesperson highlighted the £1 billion made available specifically for adult social care this year via the Local Government Finance Settlement.

They said: “No national government can control the global factors pushing up the price of energy, but we will continue to support businesses, including care homes, in navigating the months ahead.”

They pointed to a package of measures including doubling support for high energy usage businesses, reducing employer national insurance, slashing fuel duty, introducing a 50 per cent business rates relief and freezing the business rates multiplier.

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