POWYS County Council has hit back after being handed a “Cheapskate Award” from Care Forum Wales, which put the authority at the bottom of a funding league table for care homes.

The forum set up the table to illustrate the gap between different authorities in Wales when it comes to the level of funding they provide per person in care homes, with Powys at the bottom and Cardiff at the top.

According to Care Forum Wales chairman Mario Kreft the huge gulf between the top and the bottom payers was evidence of an unfair postcode lottery.

But Powys Council's director of social service Alison Bulman said the league table was "crude and unhelpful", and did not reflect the impact of being in a rural area.

Mr Kreft said: “The aim of the Cheapskate Awards is to highlight the really serious problems created by a crazy fee structure here in Wales.

“Are vulnerable people in Cardiff really worth £12,000 a year more than equally fragile people in Powys?

“We were seeing care homes and nursing homes closing across Wales even before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is hard to see how many care providers can continue in business with fees at this level.”

Mr Kreft said that he wanted to see a “national action plan” produced to sort out the “hodge podge” of fees.

Ms Bulman said it was disappointing to see the league table, but said the figures do not reflect reality.

In 2017, PCC had looked at account of care home providers when finance rates were last agreed.

Ms Bulman, said: “This exercise was based on verifiable data for all aspects of care home costs.

“Many of the more rural councils do not compare well in their league table.

“It’s well known that in cities and larger towns you tend to have larger homes with a larger number of potential customers.

“This will always have an impact on price.”

She added that the council had also seen massive cuts to its budget over the last decade, affecting how much money it can spend on services, including social care.

Ms Bulman also believed that some care home providers had increased their prices by 20 per cent “or more” from 2017 and this was not reflected in the forum’s assessment.

“We support the notion of a national conversation with governments and the industry, however a crude table like this doesn’t really help anyone,” said Ms Bulman.

A weekly fee for a person in a residential elderly mentally infirm care home for older people with mental frailty is £559 a week in Powys, and £793.48 a week in Cardiff.