CARE home owners claimed they are being paid less per night than it costs to stay in a budget hotel to look after some of Merseyside’s most vulnerable adults.
Wirral councillors agreed proposals which could see a rise in fees for the borough's 111 homes following consultation.
But after the meeting at Wallasey town hall, Lawson Stebbings of the Wirral Care Homes Association said the proposed fees failed to meet the true costs of operating homes.
He said: “We are looking after the most vulnerable adults in Wirral who deserve the best we can offer them.
“What they are offering us is slightly less than it would cost to stay in a Travelodge – whereas we have to provide carers, three meals a day plus snacks and meet compliance regulations.”
Mr Stebbings spoke after Wirral council’s cabinet accepted the recommendation from the director of adult social services to consult on his plan to raise fees for 2012-13, backdated to April.
Under the preferred option a residential home would raise fees by 3.2% from £376.81 to £389 – around £55 a night.
According to its website, Travelodge room prices in the immediate area ranged from £38 to £63 yesterday.
The total extra cost to the council is estimated at £757,000.
The report presented to the cabinet outlined other options including no increase in fees or a larger rise.
The council said the new fee structure will help Wirral’s 111 care home providers “to invest appropriately in meeting standards and providing appropriate levels of staffing”.
Graham Hodkinson, director of adult social care in Wirral, told cabinet members his department had been working with care homes on the proposals since January.
He said: “We want to focus on keeping people in their own homes for as long as possible, but having said that many people need to be in a care or residential home.
“In terms of council duties, we have to set a fee which has regard to the actual cost of provision.”
Mr Hodkinson said officials had worked closely with care homes to establish how much it costs to provide care. He said the new fee would be “close to the regional average”.