Cambs Euro MP Richard Howitt: Fenland care home residents could be left ‘high and dry’

FRAIL residents of Fenland care homes could be left homeless, warned Cambs Euro MP Richard Howitt today as he attacked the Government for leaving the “vulnerable high and dry”.

Mr Howitt’s warning follows yesterday’s announcement from struggling care home provider Southern Cross, which detailed an emergency plan to pay nearly a third less to its landlords over the next four months.

The Cambridgeshire Labour MEP has written to the Secretary of State for Health demanding to know what will happen if the landlords do not accept a rent reduction and start to evict residents from Broad Oaks, in March; Friday House, in Friday Bridge; Dove Court, in Wisbech; and Strathmore House in Elm.

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

“We are not talking about numbers on a balance sheet, but about mums, dads and grandparents whose long-term care should be a priority. It would be a terrible upheaval for residents to be forced to move from the place they call home.”

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The Conservative Health Select Committee chair said that Government policy was partly to blame for the crisis as swingeing cuts to local councils’ funding meant they had cut placements and slashed fees paid to care home providers.

Mr Howitt held talks with Southern Cross Chief Executive Jamie Buchan in March, when the company’s financial meltdown first came to light.

At the time the Prime Minister pledged “action” but the Euro MP says he has failed to do so and must now respond urgently.

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