Southern Cross GMB briefing


For latest information, follow this link to the GMB’s page on Southern Cross.

An Early Day Motion has been tabled in the House of Commons (no Wolverhampton MPs have yet signed):

“That this House notes with extreme concern that Southern Cross has announced that it will cease to operate and that trading in its shares has been suspended causing continuing worry to the residents of Southern Cross residential homes and their families; and consequently calls on the Government to intervene urgently, where necessary transferring control to local councils of any Southern Cross residential homes at risk of closure so that no resident will be forced by this crisis to move from their home.”


On 18th May this year, Southern Cross Healthcare announced that if the company “does not  reach agreements with its landlords and lenders, the group is unlikely to be able to continue to trade.” Southern Cross is the UK’s largest care-home operator responsible for 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents in 753 care homes. 

GMB is the union for the 43,000 staff in Southern Cross homes. For almost two years we have been highlighting Southern Cross’s unsustainable business model and the above-market rents that have seen £100 million a year of largely public money, meant for the care of residents, go to landlords like the Qatar Investment Authority.

Recent milestones in the crisis are:
14th March: Southern Cross warns that its current rent burden is “unsustainable”.
18th May: Chief Executive Jamie Buchan advises that if the company “does not reach agreements with its landlords and lenders, the group is unlikely to be able to continue to trade”.
31st May: Southern Cross unilaterally defers 30% of its rent payments for next four months.
1st June: The Prime Minister’s spokesman issues a guarantee that affected residents will not “lose out”.
8th June: Southern Cross announces up to 3,000 job losses, including 300 nurses and 1,300 carers.
9th June: Vince Cable says “There is no way we can bail out the company”.

(1) Ask your local authorities precisely what preparations they have made to deal with the possible collapse of the company.

(2) On a cross-party basis, call on Government to:
• Immediately appoint a cabinet minister charged with guaranteeing that no homes close and no resident is turned out or forced to move against their will. (Forcing residents to move is known to result in a higher incidence of premature death.)
• Step in with immediate financial support to ensure that Southern Cross continues to operate and continues to provide a home for 31,000 vulnerable residents.

(3) Arrange visits to Southern Cross homes in your constituency. GMB will be willing to make these joint.
For more information
Contact Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer: 07710 631 351;
or Heidi Benzing, GMB Political Officer: 07841 181 541;
Visit GMB’s campaign website where you can watch Southern Cross worker Helen Ewan’s
powerful statement to GMB Congress 2011:

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