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Britain's biggest Care Home owners 'have £5 billion debts'

November 12, 2012

 

 

I read last week that Britain's biggest Care Home owners 'have £5 billion debts'

Some of the biggest private Care Home owners in the UK have combined debts of almost £5 billion.

And I read again days later, that this had led to concerns from residents families about the financial viability of the companies that are looking after literally thousands of elderly and disabled people.

This investigation established that the debts of 3 of the firms, which apparently own almost 800 homes, have been rated as risky by credit companies. This is over concerns on how they could pay off the money in a tough economic climate.

But forgive me if I sound a preacher, but I do recall the news last year about how care homes would now be forced to be more clear and transparent about all their finances. This of course was after the Southern Cross collapse and fallout.

Apparently this investigation was partly created by the NfP body Corporate Watch. So I ask myself, if it weren’t for this NfP body called Corporate Watch making the findings, how easy is it exactly for local authorities and resident’s families to get a clear, proper understanding and assessment of the underlying risks that some leading Care Home providers are facing. Because I can now see from this report that they have some pretty hefty loan arrangements.

This report also discovered that 5 of the Care Home firms are in fact owned by parent companies based in secretive offshore tax havens.

And of course within recent years there has been significant expansion of large private companies within this sector, whilst council-run Care Homes have decreased.

This is what others had to say on the subject:

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “It is absolutely essential that individuals have access to clear information about the strengths and liabilities of organisations looking after their mums and dads.

“The Government said it will legislate soon on social care and it is essential that it learns the lessons of Southern Cross, puts some stability into this market as the current high-rolling, high-risk economics we see is not compatible with the care of elderly people.”

Michelle Mitchell of Age UK said: “This is a major concern and we are calling on the Government to ensure that Monitor, the NHS Financial Regulator, is given a duty to assess the financial viability of care providers and, where necessary, the powers to ensure compliance.”

The Department of Health announced that a public consultation about financial regulation would begin soon.

 

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