According to a Sunday Times report families struggling to pay care home bills are being charged ever higher fees to subsidise state-funded residents as local authority funding is squeezed.

In other cases, care homes are “illegally” asking families with elderly relatives, who do qualify for full state support, to pay top-up fees, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Simon Bottery of the charity Independent Age said: “This is malpractice by the care homes, and exploitation of families at a time of crisis.”