Jersey care providers 'angry, shocked and concerned' by below-inflation benefit rate

The 7.7% increase in Long Term Care benefits is below the 10.9% rate of inflation, according to the Jersey Care Federation. Credit: ITV Channel

The Jersey Care Federation says it's "angry, shocked and concerned" after the island's government announced Long Term Care benefits would increase by less than the rate of inflation.

The organisation, which represents the care sector, says it had planned for an uplift of at least 10.9%.

The government however has increased the benefit by 7.7%, which the JCF says is effectively a 3% decrease despite the rising costs of providing care.

Cheryl Kenealy from the Jersey Care Federation told ITV News: "People need to understand that Long Term Care benefit is actually going to the patient or to the client, it doesn't come to organisations and if organisations are having to put the prices up because of the cost of living is going up, everything is going up we all know that. "But only giving a 7.7% increase to the benefit is going to disenfranchise those clients. It means they're not going to be able to afford to purchase the care from the providers they actually have looking after them."

In its statement, the JCF said the government's tone in dealing with the care sector was "extremely worrying" and carers are not feeling valued.

  • Cheryl Kenealy from the Jersey Care Federation says the proposed increase doesn't go far enough

In response, the Ministers for Health and Social Security - Deputies Karen Wilson and Elaine Millar - issued a joint statement.

They said: "We are disappointed at this negative reaction from the Jersey Care Federation. This contrasts with feedback which government has received from individual care providers, which has included positive responses to the [rise].

"The increase of 7.7% for 2024 fully reflects the rise in average earnings over the last year.

"This is in line with government policy over the last few years, with Long-Term Care (LTC) uprates linked to average earnings as care costs are strongly driven by wage costs."

They continued: "At the beginning of this year, there was an exceptional, one-off increase of 12%, which was well above the 2022 average earnings increase of 6.2%. Taken together, the latest increase represents a 20% increase in LTC funding in two years.

"LTC is paid for by all taxpayers. The headline contribution rate rose to 1.5% in 2020 to acknowledge the increasing number of people requiring care in the island."

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