The social care system has been branded “not fit for purpose” after figures revealed elderly people are paying up to £7,000 a year for home care services.

Cllr David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, accused the government of underfunding local authorities, leaving councils with “tough decisions” over the services they can provide.

Statistics released by the Labour party showed marked rises in the cost of council services for elderly and disabled people over the past year.

Analysis of data from 93 out of 153 councils in England, showed there has been a 13 per cent rise in the cost of meals on wheels, with the price of a meal rising from £3.17 to £3.44.

There has also been a 33 per cent increase in transport fees, with the average cost of travel to places such as day care centres now standing at £2.32 per journey.

Labour said the data also revealed a “postcode lottery” in the amount people pay for social care, with huge disparities across the country.

People living in theLondon borough of Tower Hamlets pay nothing for personal care, while those in Cheshire East are charged more than £20 an hour, for example.

Cllr Rogers said: “These results highlight what we already know, the current social care system is not fit for purpose. It is underfunded and in need of urgent reform.

“We all want to know that everything possible is being done to ensure our elderly friends and relatives are treated with the dignity and respect they rightly deserve and councils are committed to doing the very best for people in later life.

“But councils are facing the long-term triple pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and escalating costs and despite their best efforts, they are having to make tough decisions about the care services they can provide.”

The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information law, showed elderly and disabled people are being charged an averaged of £13.49 per hour for home care - a rise of 6 per cent in two years.