The cost of home care contributions will rise by more than eight per cent for those deemed able to pay towards the service.

The above-inflation increase in the maximum hourly rate charged for community services under Barnet Council’s fairer contributions policy will take it from £17 to £18.39.

This figure is based on people’s ability to pay, taking into account their income, savings and outgoings.

According to a council report, the 8.18 per cent increase will “reflect the actual cost of homecare, which has risen in recent years due to inflationary pressures on providers”.

But at a meeting of the adults and safeguarding committee on Monday, Cllr Paul Edwards (Labour, Underhill) called it a “rather harsh increase” given the inflation rate of “between 1.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent”.

Cllr Edwards added: “Specifically, when you see elsewhere in the report that the level of savings that it produces – it brings in another £60,000 – the contribution it is bringing in is particularly small in terms of the level of the increase for our service users.”

Committee chairman Cllr Sachin Rajput (Conservative, Oakleigh) said he understood the concerns but the purpose of the fairer contributions policy “is we have to ask those who can afford to pay something to pay and make sure they are asked to pay something based on what they can afford”.

“Eight per cent does seem rather high”, he added. “But at the same time, home care costs have gone up significantly.”

Dawn Wakeling, the council’s executive director for adults and health, said: “One of the reasons the increase is high, comparatively, is because it is linked to the increase in the national living wage, which went up by just over six per cent in April this year.

“Home care providers have needed to pay that increase to their staff, and therefore we are seeing that in the hourly rates that we pay them – and hence because our hourly rates have gone up, our override rate reflects that.”

At the end of the debate, members of the Labour and Liberal Democrats voted against two of the report’s recommendations to increase the fees and charges.

They were approved when Conservative members of the committee voted in favour and will take effect in April next year.