THE 'shocking' cost of care homes is causing financial despair for Worcestershire's most vulnerable residents, a councillor claims.

The average cost for a residential care home in the West Midlands is £561 per week, according to a Royal London study released today (March 20).

The insurance company's study found that the cost of staying in a care home for 130 weeks equates to 40 per cent of the average price of a home in the West Midlands.

Cllr Chris Bloore, county councillor and Labour's spokesman for older people, called on the government to act.

"Reading today's report from Royal London shows shocking figures about the cost of growing old in our region," he said.

"A postcode lottery is opening up across the country that is bringing financial despair to some of the most vulnerable residents in our county.

"It's time the government took seriously the reports' recommendations and moved much faster to try and address this growing social care problem we are facing.

"Time is ticking away quickly and they must act now."

Debbie Kennedy, head of protection at Royal London, said: "These figures are a shocking reminder of the huge costs which growing numbers of us will face if we need residential care later in life.

"Even an average stay in a care home can eat up half the value of your home, depending where you live in the country.

"The whole system is a lottery and we need to find better ways of supporting people to cope with these large and unpredictable bills."

There are other areas of the country where care homes cost more than the West Midlands.

In London the average weekly cost of residential care homes is £666 per week, in the South East it is £710, in the East it is £699 and in the South West it is £613.

Cllr Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for adult social care, was approached for comment.