Welsh council warns of costs of English “social tourism”
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English people are crossing the border into Wales to take advantage of more competitive care home fees, a Welsh council official has warned.

Tyrone Stokes, finance officer for social care and health in Monmouthshire, said this type of “social tourism” had already contributed to a predicted £3m overspend in the council’s adult services budget.

In Wales, individuals can have their residential care fully funded if their assets are below £50,000. The corresponding figure in England is £14,250.

Speaking to a council scrutiny committee, Mr Stokes said: “In terms of the statistics in Monmouthshire we have still got an ageing demographic population, the same across the country, but in Monmouthshire we are quite attractive to people retiring, bringing in older people to the county, and we also do suffer somewhat from ‘social tourism’.

He continued: “Monmouthshire is an affluent borough and it borders a number of English counties… The charging regime in Wales is much more generous than England so we do see people hopping over the border to try and take advantage of those.”

People moving from England into care homes in Monmouthshire may be eligible for local authority financial assistance depending on a means-tested financial assessment in line with the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “Before making any funding decisions, we consider all our options, including establishing where ordinary residence should be, as this establishes which local authority should be responsible.”

Meanwhile, the average care home in England now costs around £800 a week (almost £42,000 a year), according to recent research by consultancy LaingBuisson, on behalf of the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Nursing homes, which focus on patients with more severe illnesses, are generally more expensive with average costs reaching £1,078 a week (just over 56,000 per year).

Figures from the ONS state there were approximately 11 million people aged 65 or older in England and Wales in 2021. That represents an increase of 1.8 million since 2011 – the previous time the figure was calculated.

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