Elderly Residents Will Not Be Left Homeless

PUBLISHED: 09:48 09 June 2011

"We are monitoring the situation and are prepared to take action should it become necessary to ensure any people placed with Southern Cross in Cambridgeshire continue to receive proper care and support."

FRAIL residents at a home run by troubled care provider Southern Cross will not be left homeless, the county council has said - despite warnings from political figures that hundreds of people have been left “vulnerable, high and dry.”

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) moved to assure worried families this week that if the care giant was forced into administration, the authority would step in to ensure residents at the Lily House care home in Ely would be taken care of.

A spokesman for CCC said: “We are monitoring the situation and are prepared to take action should it become necessary to ensure any people placed with Southern Cross in Cambridgeshire continue to receive proper care and support.”

The news follows a string of announcements from Southern Cross in the past week, which detailed an emergency plan to slash its payments to landlords by nearly a third in a bid to keep its 750 residential homes up and running.

MPs and healthcare specialists across the UK have warned Southern Cross could collapse within months if it cannot agree a new deal with its banks and landlords.

The company has blamed government cuts and a drop in funding from local authorities for its dire financial situation.

Cambridgeshire Labour MEP Richard Howitt has written to the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley demanding to know what will happen if the landlords do not accept a rent reduction and start to evict residents.

Mr Howitt said: “Money was found to bail out the bankers so why can’t the Government rescue a company that provides care to vulnerable older people?

“Government cuts have contributed to the financial meltdown of Southern Cross so now I want to hear what they are going to do to pick up the pieces?

“The Government talks about the Big Society but I want to live in a caring and compassionate society – not one that leaves the vulnerable high and dry.”

In a statement released last week, Southern Cross chief Jamie Buchan, said: “During the last several months, it has been a difficult trading environment for all care providers as commissioners such as local authorities grapple with the consequences of major budget cuts. Southern Cross has been particularly affected because of the type of lease arrangements which underpin our business model.

“On March 14, we released a statement which said that our rent obligations had become unsustainable and we planned to seek concessions from our landlords. I believe it is in the interests of landlords to reach an equitable solution with us to help stabilise our business and create the conditions for new investment to come into our homes.”

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