Local care homes concerns

THE CONTINUING financial plight of care homes operator Southern Cross is being viewed with concern in the local area.

The company operates two homes in Arbroath, Lunan Court and Cairnie Lodge.

Southern Cross has more than 750 homes across the country and the chairman, Christopher Fisher, has conceded it is in a critical financial position.

Both NHS Tayside and Angus Council are monitoring the situation closely.

A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “NHS Tayside and Angus Council’s social work and health department will continue to monitor the situation with Southern Cross to ensure that the care of all Angus residents is maintained at the highest level during this period of uncertainty.”

And a spokesperson for Angus Council added: “We have received no indication from Southern Cross that any of the Angus units will be adversely affected. However, Angus Council will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Local Councillor, Donald Morrison, commented: “I share the concerns of residents, their families and the staff to the uncertainty surrounding the financial crisis which has hit Southern Cross. “I have spoken with the director of social work and health at Angus Council who is fully aware of these concerns at the moment and have been assured anyone who may be affected will be fully supported.”

Southern Cross has taken a decision to cut its rental payments by one third, with the amount being spent on leasing the homes they previously owned being at the heart of the firm’s problems. In 2007 the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and sold all its property freeholds before leasing them back.

The company has ££180 million going out each year in rent, thus undermining its ability to invest. And UK government spending cuts also hit the business hard.