Government must pledge more money to local authorities or risk a shortage of care home beds, according to a report by healthcare experts LaingBuisson.
The number of beds to close has exceeded the number opening for the first time this year, with a loss of 3, 000 bed places in all.
The research said the reduction in fees local authorities pay to care home providers as a result of government austerity had been responsible for driving the falling numbers of care home places.
This was mainly affecting homes catering to publically-funded care home residents in poorer areas, while those funding their own care largely in affluent areas of the country were unaffected, the authors added
LaingBuisson flagged up the postponement of the cap on care costs under the Care Act and the announcement of a national living wage as having the biggest impact on the care sector.
National living wage
The national living wage is predicted further to impact care home places as additional costs drive up fees to a level local authorities cannot afford without additional government funding.
Report author and chief executive of LaingBuisson, William Laing said the question was: “Will the government make provision in the comprehensive spending review, due in late November, to bail out care providers facing the threat of going underwater?”