Cash crisis 'could close half of care homes'
The care home sector is heading for a bigger crisis than the steel industry, according to Martin Green, head of Care England. One leading provider, Four Seasons, has to make a £26m interest payment in December, but is losing money under the weight of £500m of debt. While Four Seasons has insisted that it can make the payment, bosses at rival companies have warned that the industry is under unsustainable pressure. Justin Bowden, national officer at the GMB union, said: 'You are looking potentially at several Southern Crosses in the next 12 months if something drastic is not done.' The problems for care homes are rooted in the gap between the costs of care and the amounts local authorities are paying for residents. There are huge variations in fees across the UK, ranging from £350 a week to as high as £750 according to consumer watchdog Which? The Local Government Association estimates there will be a £2.9bn annual funding gap in social care by the end of the decade.
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