The council has defended its pricing structure saying: “The cost of commissioning home care in Stratford averages at £15.81 per hour, which is higher than the rate of £15 suggested by the UK Home Care Association.”

Although admitting they offered care companies “hundreds of different rates” they could not provide their minimum rate to the Herald by the time of going to press.

But a BBC investigation found that across the UK, the average minimum rate paid by councils was just £12.26 an hour.

Personal home care is usually paid for by councils, and delivered by private agencies.

Philip Maundrill, director of Home Instead Social Care, based at Hatton Rock, Stratford, does not bid for council contracts because they do not pay enough.

“We don’t really work with Warwickshire County Council principally because it’s done to a price, it’s done to a budget,” he said. “We all know there is a challenge for every single local authority to cut their spending.”

Last year the council announced they had to make cuts of £92 million over the next four years.

Mr Maundrill’s company has been in Stratford for three years and thanks to an ageing population, demand for home care is increasing all the time. 

He said council cuts affects care quality. 

“We are focused on quality and quality means time with our clients,” he said. “We do a minimum of an hour, we don’t do 15 mins, half an hour, because for us, that is not care.”

Even those companies who do work with the council say the current situation is “unsustainable”.

Stratford Domiciliary is run by The Care Bureau Ltd. Operations director Matthew Dunster, said: “The general trend in downward pricing, upward cost pressures and increased demand is clearly unsustainable in the long run.” 

He said there are a number of low-quality care companies willing to work at low prices, tempting the council desperately trying to save money.

“However, I have confidence in our council colleagues being able to see a difference in price and value.

"As social care continues to dominate the political agenda, then more councils and health authorities will conclude that increasing funding to this area avoids unacceptable quality issues, and saves large amounts on more acute services in the longer term.”

Warwickshire County Council said: “Standards of care and the rates that are paid are monitored on a regular basis to ensure we meet people’s needs within the resources that are available to us.”