Rochdale gang sexual abuse linked to private equity care turmoil

The sexual abuse by the gang uncovered in Rochdale is horrific enough, and made worse by the abject failure of the police to respond to pleas for help from the teenage victims over several years, but questions have naturally been asked about how such young girls could have been preyed on so extensively when they were in care. The answers now beginning to emerge cast a frightening light on the breakdown of social care for children, which parallel a similar breakdown of social care for the elderly in the case of Southern Cross last year. What links both cases is the manner in which private equity exploited its financial interests with complete disregard for its caring responsibilities. Continue reading

Hinchingbrooke hospital: lessons of Southern Cross

Southern Cross became a FTSE 250 company on the back of the profits it made from looking after the elderly. Earlier this year it realised that it could no longer afford the rent on the care homes it once owned, but had sold off and leased back.

Unlike most business models that don’t pan out, this failure put the future care of 31,000 old people at risk. Many of them will have understandably been frightened when the news emerged. Continue reading

Southern Cross links exposed with Qatar, RBS & Goldman Sachs

The story behind Southern Cross that is slowly being exposed gets worse by the hour. We now know from research by the GMB, which represents nearly 11,000 staff employed by Southern Cross, that up to half of the properties at the 753 care homes were acquired by a company called NHP, of which the ultimate parent company is Delta Commercial Property. This is a company owned by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and is registered in the Isle of Man. The financial returns for this company are consolidated within Libra No.2 Ltd, incorporated and registered in the Cayman Islands. Other corporate shareholders over the last decade have as their ultimate holding company RBS, Bank of New York, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Lloyds, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Royal Bank of Canada – a rollcall of many of the world’s biggest banks. Continue reading

Because elderly people lack political clout, social care is in crisis

Old woman's hands with deep wrinkles and protruding veins tucked between her legs. She is wearing a bright green sports suit.If there’s one good thing about Southern Cross and Winterbourne View, it’s that they bring the scandal over care for the elderly to boiling point.   Yes, the depredations of uncontrolled private equity in both cases masking a killing out of the most vulnerable should now lead to regulation reining them in over social care – fat chance under Osborne and Cameron.   But at least the silent crisis over social care is given voice which should echo through the dark corridors of cuts-obsessed Whitehall.   The killer fact is this: since 2004 net spending on social care for the elderly has risen by just 0.1% a year in real terms, a total of £43m.   Over the same period real spending on the NHS has risen by £25,000m. Continue reading