Residents of two Hove care homes face an anxious summer after the company running the homes announced a temporary fix to try to solve its financial problems.
Southern Cross, which owns Bon Accord in New Church Road and The Downs in Laburnum Avenue, Hangleton, has said that it will pay about 30 per cent less rent for the next four months.
There are concerns though that the reduced rent bill for the coming four months will not be enough to save the company from collapse.
And that some of its landlords will baulk at the unilateral announcement which takes effect from today.
Southern Cross lost £47 million last year and recently reported a half-year loss of £311 million.
The company runs 750 homes around the country and cares for 31,000 residents.
It has described itself as in a “critical financial condition” and is withholding rent as it tries to restructure its finances.
Brighton and Hove City Council funds 27 residents at Bon Accord, 18 at The Downs and seven other residents in Southern Cross homes outside the city.
The company’s chairman Christopher Fisher said: “We believe that all of the key stakeholders in Southern Cross want this restructuring to succeed.
“We are in dialogue with the Department of Health, our lenders and our landlords and they continue to support the process.
“The objective will be to emerge with a stable and sustainable business model for the continuing care of our residents.”
It blamed councils for its growing problems saying that they were funding fewer residents and holding down fees.
If the current efforts fail to solve Southern Cross’s financial problems, residents and their relatives fear that homes may be forced to close.
A spokesman for the council said: “Southern Cross is working with councils and social care directors across the country to keep them informed about what is happening.
“There are two Southern Cross homes in Brighton and Hove.
“If the company were to go into receivership we would like to reassure residents and their relatives that we will consult with them about the long-term options and during this time we will work with our partners, Southern Cross and any administrators to secure the best possible outcome for residents.”
The president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Peter Hay said: “As councils buying care from Southern Cross, we are willing to work with all parties to support the recovery of the business.
“The care sector has many viable businesses delivering high-quality care and we can achieve that for Southern Cross residents if all parties co-operate and continue to put the interests of residents and their families first.”
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