GMB Reacts to Southern Cross Announcement

11 Jul 2011

GMB reacted to the announcement by Southern Cross to the Stock Exchange this morning that it had suspended its shares and landlords would take over the homes. GMB also responded to Government white paper on Public Services.

GMB also published a new study revealing that a total of 336 the care homes due to be taken back are owned by companies outside the UK with 325 of them registered in tax havens. A total of 199 are registered in the Cayman Island, 43 in Guernsey, 41 in Gibralter, 39 in Jersey, 4 in British Virgin Islands, and one in the Isle of Man.

GMB, working with the Land Registries across the UK, have established the names of 80 landlords who own 615 of the 750 homes. GMB has not yet been able to establish who owns the other 116 care homes in Britain. GMB have yet to establish the names of the landlords for 19 of the 25 homes in Northern Ireland.

GMB plan to publish in the next few hours what we have established in terms of the name of the landlord by home by region.

Justin Bowden GMB National Officer said ““Southern Cross may be on its last legs but for Southern Cross’ 31,000 residents and 43,000 staff this looks like a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire”. These 80 landlords are a rag-bag bunch whose number includes overseas interests, tax dodgers and in some case ‘identity still unknown’. Many themselves are in financial difficulties.

All this spells months more uncertainty and worry for residents and staff. Where is government in this care scandal? The ears of the 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents and 43,000 staff must be ringing from the deafening silence from Downing Street.

The Government instead is today publishing a White Paper which says the future for all public services is outsourcing. Meanwhile back in the real world this is what happens when the private sector is given access to public money.

The ideas in the White paper are not new or does it contain any innovative new policies. It amounts to a dangerous re-threading of the bald tyre that led to today’s crash at Southern Cross impacting on the care of 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents in private sector care.

It is also a formula for taxpayers cash ending up in offshore tax havens as GMB research into the 80 known Southern Cross landlords show. That the government should seek to dress up this extension of privatisation on the day Southern Cross suspended its shares shows the extent to which it has lost touch with the real world”.