Portsmouth council paying lowest hourly rate to home care providers

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FIGURES have shown a council is paying less than the average to agencies that care for people in their homes.

The data, from a Freedom of Information Request by UK Home Care Association, revealed Portsmouth City Council paid £14.62 per hour to agencies – £2 less than £16.70, which the association says should be the minimum rate.

UKHCA says that £16.70 is the lowest rate for a care agency that can cover staff wages at the national living wage, running costs and turn a profit.

Portsmouth’s is the lowest rate in the south.

Justin Wallace-Cook, assistant director of adult social care at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘We’ve been paying £14.62 per hour since April 2016.

‘It was a price which was set following an agreed methodology with our providers who have all tendered for the work.

‘In conjunction with the future increase in the national living wage we’re looking to increase this rate from April 1 – however this increase has not been finalised.’

The Isle of Wight council pays an hourly rate of £16.40 to agencies and Southampton City Council pays £17.19.

Hampshire County Council did not respond.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, the Portsmouth’s cabinet member for adult social care, added: ‘While our payments might be lower than other areas they are not among the lowest nationally.

‘The regional comparison is comparing our city to mostly rural areas while if you look at other cities our rates are comparable or higher.’