Care home residents who fund their fees are paying on average 40% more than those who are funded by their local council, new figures show.

Research compiled by the Scottish Parliament's Information Centre shows the average cost of a publicly funded place is £856 while a self-funder pays around £1200.

It comes as some care providers have introduced fee rises as high as 11% to counter cost-of-living pressures.

The figures were requested by Labour politician Alex Rowley, who said constituents living in care homes and their families, "feel like no-one is there to protect them.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland today he said: "They feel like they are being fleeced. 

"You have a situation where you have someone who has worked hard all their days, they've saved money all their days.

READ MORE: Special Report: 'Why I refuse to sell our childhood home to pay for mum's care'

"They've got a bit of savings, they've maybe bought their council house so they have a bit of capital so it's deemed they have to self-fund their own care.

"We have two rates. We have the rate that the council will pay the care home and we have a rate that is so much higher than someone who self-funds is being asked to pay.

"The priorities need to be getting the funding levels right."

The Scottish Government said it has raised personal and nursing care rates by 18.3% over the last 2 years in recognition that the cost of care "can be high for self-funders".

It said the amount self-funders pay for their care home place is a contractual matter between the individual and the care home this is protected by consumer protection laws.

However, Cathie Russell, of the campaign group Care Home Relatives Scotland said she is surprised there is not "a greater sense of outrage" about the issue.

READ MORE: Care home owners 'ripping off' elderly with £69,000 fees 

She said: "The State is quite cynically milking people who bought their houses or saved for a rainy day to keep the private sector afloat and provide all the profits.

"They lose everything they worked for.  

"This is why I also support the STUC’s campaign to end the private care rip-off. 

"People who enter care have complex needs such as advanced Alzheimers yet the NHS is washing its hands of all responsibility for them. 

"The indications are the new NCS will fund care at home but there has been no indication at all that things will be improved for self-funders."

Karen Hedge, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Care, the umbrella group which represents the independent care sector, says council funding has to catch up with the "true cost" of delivery complex,  end-of-life care.

READ MORE: 'No one should be forced to sell their home to pay for care' providers tell the Scottish Government 

She said: "About a decade ago a cost model was agreed by Cosla and care providers and the purpose of that was to establish what the true cost of care was.

"What we have seen now is that care homes now often take on that role of what a former cottage hospital might have done so people coming to live there may have advanced dementia or more complex medical requirements.

"What we haven't seen is the cost model catch up to incorporate those changes and the type of care and support that's delivered.

"On top of that we have seen increased infection control requirements as a result of the pandemic and cost of living increases."

"The National Care Home contract allows a care home to get paid somewhere around about £5 per hour.

"My kids' local after-school club charges more than double that and that's in a local church hall so we are not talking about the same complexities at all.

"There is no equivalency there but it maybe helps people understand there real gap we are talking about."

She said care providers were "having to make difficult decisions" meaning they are having to choose to have more self-funders to ensure they are not running at a deficit.

She said: "We have seen care homes close this year for that reason."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: "The Scottish Government recognises the cost of care can be high for residents self-funding their own care.

"This is why we have increased the Free Personal and Nursing Care rates by 18.3% over the last 2 years.

"Self-funders who are assessed as requiring it are entitled to receive a Free Personal Care payment.

"A nursing Care element is also available.”

The Herald is supporting Alzheimer Scotland's campaign for fairer care home fees for people with advanced dementia.