Care group loses fight to raise fees

Six care and nursing home owners have lost their High Court case
against Birmingham Council for an increase in care home fees.

Judge Stanley Burnton ruled against Birmingham Care Consortium’s
claim that the council’s refusal to pay more for places in the
homes was unlawful, adding that affordability and allocation of
resources were for “the democratically elected executive and
legislature, not for the courts”.

The consortium’s barrister, Robin Green, had argued that
under-funding of the care home sector had led to the closure of 80
homes in the past 18 months.

The council had offered a 3 per cent increase in fees in May, which
was rejected by the home owners for bearing “no relation to the
actual cost of providing care”.

But councillor Susanna McCorry, cabinet member for social services
and health, said the council had commissioned an independent
inquiry into the cost implications of the new care standards, which
would be introduced in 2007, and had agreed to increase fees
incrementally to help homes meet requirements.

She said: “If the judgement had gone against us it would have
opened the door for lots of other home owners to take similar
action against other authorities.”

Burnton refused the consortium permission to appeal.

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