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Jon Trickett has expressed serious concerns about the financial problems facing Southern Cross and how this could affect the two homes in his constituency which are run by the company. Jon is to attend meetings in London and Wakefield to discuss the issue with the GMB officials who organise at Southern Cross.
Britain’s biggest care homes operator, which looks after 31,000 elderly residents at 750 homes, is struggling to stay afloat because it is unable to pay an annual rent bill of £230m and has been hit by cuts in fees from local authorities.
The company has outlined plans to drop 20 per cent of its 752 care homes in the next five years, starting with the handing back of 47 homes to landlords by October. However, while Southern Cross informed landlords how many homes in their portfolio fell into the so-called “limited life” category, the chairman has still not offered any information about which homes face closure. The chairman of troubled care home provider Southern Cross has today apparently apologised for the “uncertainty and concern” caused by difficulties in the business, but said that residents should not fear widespread home closures.
Jon Trickett said: “It isn’t enough for the Chairman to apologise for the “uncertainty and concern” they are causing. We are talking about vulnerable people here and we can’t forget their hard working carers, thousands of whom are going to lose their jobs. Southern Cross has to come clean about their proposals. I am attending meetings in both London and Wakefield as I am deeply concerned about the impact the financial mess created by Southern Cross will have on the homes in my constituency at Warde Aldam in South Elmsall and Hemsworth Water Park. When it comes to any financial mess, just like the current economic crisis created by greedy bankers; it is the ordinary people like the residents and workers who have to pay the highest price”
Jon Trickett also went on to criticise the Government whom he believes have been slow off the mark. Jon said: “One of my Labour colleagues asked the Health Minister, Paul Burstow, back in early December to get involved in the developing crisis in Southern Cross”. At that point the Government complacently replied that it was just the responsibility of local Councils. The Government admitted last week that they had only got involved in the middle of March despite the warning coming three months earlier. Jon Trickett added “It is irresponsible of Government Ministers just to sweep it under the carpet and shift the blame to local councils. Councils have a reduced budget because of swingeing cuts in public spending imposed by Central Government. They can’t just walk away. They have a duty to help protect residents and staff”.