Corbyn: State should take control of failing care homes

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PA

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Mr Corbyn will promise a “clean break” from the austerity of recent years

Failed care homes could be taken into public ownership under a future Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn is to say.

The Labour leader will warn that the social care system in England is at risk of breaking down due to growing demand and financial pressures.

He will cite King’s Fund research suggesting one in five nursing homes do not have enough staff on duty.

Speaking in London, Mr Corbyn will also argue the economic system has been “rigged” against working people.

In a speech to the Fabian Society, he will promise a “clean break” from the austerity of recent years.

He will defend the direction he is taking the party in amid warnings, most recently from the Fabian Society itself, that Labour is heading for likely defeat at the next general election and could be reduced to fewer than 200 seats.

Following Tristram Hunt’s resignation as an MP to become the new director of the VA museum, Labour faces two by-elections in the coming months where it will face strong challenges from the Conservatives and UKIP.

‘Political earthquakes’

Mr Corbyn has insisted that he has not lost control of the party after Mr Hunt followed Jamie Reed, the MP for Copeland, in quitting Parliament.

The Labour leader will say Brexit and other “global political earthquakes” last year did not come out of nowhere but were the result of a political elite which had become divorced from the people they govern.

“The people who run Britain have been taking our country for a ride,” he will say. “They have rigged the economy and business rules to line the pockets of their friends…The truth is the system simply does not work for the vast majority of people.”

Repeating his call for an immediate injection of funding into the NHS and social care system, he will say his focus on the issue is “not because it’s in Labour’s comfort zone but because the NHS is in a danger zone”.

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Ministers acknowledged there are real pressures in both the NHS and care system

Labour has urged the government to bring forward £700m of extra funding to help the NHS through the winter months. The opposition has said it will give the social care system the funding it needs if it gets into power, partly by reversing government cuts to corporation tax.

He will say too many care homes do not have adequate nursing provision and Labour would be prepared to intervene if necessary in the most serious cases of financial mismanagement and clinical negligence.

“A total of 380 care home businesses have been declared insolvent since 2010,” he will say. “That’s because the amount councils pay towards fees for residents is falling while costs are increasing.

“A Labour government would give social care the funding it needs and give a firm commitment to take failed private care homes into public ownership to maintain social care protection.”

Ministers have acknowledged there are real pressures in both the NHS and care system but say they met NHS England’s funding request in full last year and are allowing councils to spend more on social care this year by bringing forward increases in council tax precepts.

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