Labour Axes Council Care Homes

At last months full Council meeting, held on 19 September, Labour Councillors voted unanimously to shut down four of Leicester City Council’s eight Elderly Persons Homes. This was not without protest, and three petitions were handed in with a total of some 2,400 signatories opposing the Council’s latest attack on Leicester’s most vulnerable residents. [1]

Part of this dissent was recorded by the Leicester Mercury who reported that when Labour member Lynn Moore, said the “closures were inevitable in the face of swingeing cuts by the Tory and Liberal Democrat Government… people in the chamber’s public gallery shouted out ‘stand up to them’.” But no mention was made in the Mercury of a eloquent speech by a member of the public opposing the cuts with undeniable logic.

According to the Council the cuts were justified for the following reasons (1) demand was falling and fewer people were choosing to be housed in Council run homes compared to previous years, (2) the homes are not fully occupied, and (3) it is cheaper to house people in private sector homes.

On the first two points a concerned resident of Leicester explained to the Councillors how there arguments to support the closures and sell-off’s were based upon misinformation pure and simple, explaining:

It is not the number of people choosing Council run homes that is falling. The Council is effectively managing referrals to prevent further permanent admissions, as it is outlined in the Councils Adult Social Care Transformation report.

“And while the council may say this was a just a proposal, and that it was never put into practice, that is is not what the councils admissions data suggests. Permanent admissions to council run homes fell to zero from March 2011, the same month the effective management of referrals to prevent further admissions was proposed to start; and the number of permanent admissions remained zero in the months after, quite a coincidence if the proposal was not to be put into practice don’t you think.”

So it was that the Council’s major justification for the cuts was firmly demolished just minutes before all the Labour Councillors present decided to vote for the tragic and totally unnecessary savaging of our care homes. City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby even had the audacity to ignore all evidence to the contrary and repeat the misinformation that: “Some of the homes have, frankly, unsustainably small numbers of people living in them.”

Finally, although evidently not obvious to our so-called political representatives in the CounciI, it is patently transparent to all but the most limited free-market inclined number crunchers that providing care for the elderly is the private sector is not cheaper or more effective than providing it within the public sector. This of course does not prevent the Labour Party, which has clearly sold its socialist soul to corporate powerbrokers, from pretending otherwise. Indeed, this latest attack on elderly care homes in Leicester is to be expected from a political party which is just as committed to the ongoing privitisation of the NHS as the Tories.

This sorry state of affairs demonstrates the urgent need to create a new working-class alternative to the mainstream political parties. So why not get in contact with Leicestershire Against the Cuts and join the campaign to save our public services, and consider voting for TUSC in future elections in order to use your vote to support Councillors who will fight tooth and nail to strengthen public service provision in Leicester.

Notes

[1] Leicester City authority plans to shut Nuffield House, in Western Park; Herrick Lodge, in Belgrave; Elizabeth House, in New Parks; and Preston Lodge, off Humberstone Road. The council also plans to sell Abbey House, off Groby Road; Cooper House, Eyres Monsell; Thurn Court, in Thurnby Lodge, and Arbor House, in Evington, by 2016.

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