Energy bill price cap will be ‘the death of some care homes’ in Greater Manchester, care manager warns

Record-high energy prices will mean the end for some nursing homes in Greater Manchester, a care manager has warned.

Yesterday it was confirmed the average energy bill will rise by an eye-watering £693 a year – the steepest ever level.

The surge is expected to plunge millions into fuel poverty.

Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see rise from £1,277 to £1,971 from April 1 – an increase of around 54 per cent.

Prepayment customers will be worst hit, with an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017, and money saving expert Martin Lewis called the price hike “catastrophic”.

The announcement has left care home staff in Greater Manchester anxious about what lies ahead.

One manager, who works at a nursing home in Wigan, believes the increase will mean care home closures across the region.

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“It’s going to be the death of some care homes,” Caroline Pressick, who works as a registered manager at St George’s Nursing Home, said.

“How do you lower costs? Do you stop repairing, stop ordering care tools that need renewing? You can’t do that.

“Do you cut down on staff? You can’t do that either.

“They have the collateral to sub some of the homes, but we only have two homes in our company and it’s going to make a hell of a lot of a difference, especially if they do the 50 per cent increase.

“It’s going to be thousands and thousands.”

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The move, which comes after the country saw a 12 per cent rise in October, will affect some 22 million households.

The energy regulator Ofgem was forced to hike the energy price cap, which limits how much a customer is charged for a normal level of energy use every year.

Staff have expressed concerns

The decision applies to those who are on their energy supplier’s default tariff.

“My biggest worry is the fact that it’s alright for the big companies that have 400 homes in the UK,” Caroline told the MEN

“They have the collateral to sub some of the homes, but we only have two homes in our company and it’s going to make a hell of a lot of a difference, especially if they do the 50 per cent increase.

“It’s like here, we might be able to save the odd pound here and there, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot.

“It’s a stressful time but who is listening?

“It’s worrying and I’ve been given no need to worry, but it’s whether the directors and the owners actually have to cut their commission.

“If someone’s bed broke and they needed a new one, we would have to order a new one.

“I’ve recently had a lady who can’t get out of bed unless she’s in a modified one and she needs a new bed. That’s £1,500.

“So she’s actually staying here for free for two and a half weeks because we’re having to pay for the £1,500 chair.”

The price cap is reviewed twice a year by Ofgem.

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Inside Bowfell House

Many energy firms have been unable to take the extra strain of rising gas prices they cannot pass on due to the cap and have been forced to stop trading.

Caroline continued: “Boris keeps saying how we need more places for the social care system for people to go from hospital.

“What they’re doing is making it so our residents are stuck in hospital beds. If enough nursing homes close down, there will be nowhere for them to go.

“It’s a domino effect.”

Matthew Callaghan, who manages Bowfell House in Trafford, says care staff are already struggling due to Covid restrictions.

The home, which cares for 40 residents in Urmston, has to have windows open to allow ventilation through the building.

But they also have the heating on at the same time.

“It’s challenging times. With fuel and commercial rates going up, we’ve never had the protection of caps,” the 55-year-old said.

“There’s only so much we can increase our fees because we need to be fair to the residents and their families.

“We’re a competitive market so price is important, but reputation goes before that.

“There’s not a lot we can do.”

Matthew Callaghan, manager of Bowfell House

He added the price increase is “just another thing to worry about”.

“Especially with Covid when we’re meant to be ventilating, so we have windows open and the heating on,” he continued.

“It’s just another thing to worry about when we have plenty enough on our plates at the moment dealing with Omicron and the visiting restrictions.

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“Providing the best experience for our residents and families and friends has to be the priority, and we will deal with the financials when we have the time.”

Today, Bolton doctor Helen Wall revealed the cost of living crisis is making it difficult to keep her patients healthy.

The senior responsibly officer for the Covid vaccine program in Bolton tweeted: “GP Practice day today. Finding it harder to keep my patients well when they’re struggling to eat and heat their homes.

“So many wider determinants of health not being considered let alone managed right now. we going back decades not forwards.”

In a statement, Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said today: “

“We know this rise will be extremely worrying for many people, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet, and Ofgem will ensure energy companies support their customers in any way they can,” said Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley.

“The energy market has faced a huge challenge due to the unprecedented increase in global gas prices, a once in a 30-year event, and Ofgem’s role as energy regulator is to ensure that, under the price cap, energy companies can only charge a fair price based on the true cost of supplying electricity and gas.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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