THE closure of two private care homes caused City of York Council to go nearly £1 million over budget last year.

Councillors were told that the local authority overspent by £1.3 million on its budget for residential care, largely because of the sudden closures of Amelia House Care Home in Rawcliffe and Moorlands Care Home in Strensall.

But savings made in other areas of the health, housing and adult social care budget helped reduce the overspend to nearly £900,000.

Richard Hartle, head of finance for children’s services at the council, told the meeting: “The other major thing that hit us during the last financial year was the closure of two independent homes where we had a significant number of our customers placed.

“We had to find alternative accommodation for those customers in a short space of time and clearly that number of people coming on to the market just creates a significant cost pressure.

“That’s probably the main reason and the biggest single element of that particular overspend.”

The council successfully found accommodation for all 78 people who had to move as a result of the closures.

In January a council report said finding new homes for the residents had cost £431,000 because the only available accommodation was more expensive than their previous nursing homes.

The owners of both Amelia House and Moorlands cited difficulties in recruiting staff as the reason behind their decisions to close.

Cllr Carol Runciman, the council’s executive member for adult social care, said: “Due to the closure of two York residential care homes during Autumn 2018, a rise in the number of customers needing to be placed, and an increase of the weekly cost of placements above inflation, there was additional spend of £1.3 million.

“We continue to support the care sector as we progress our older people's accommodation programme which aims to deliver over 550 new care home beds and 380 independent living apartments by 2020.”

The number of over 75s living in the city is set to increase by 50 per cent by 2030 according to council figures.