Cameron drawn into the Southern Cross furore

 
David Hellier
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THE Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday the government would ensure that elderly residents of Southern Cross care homes were properly looked after should the embattled company collapse.

Southern Cross believes it can win support from enough of its landlords to stay in business after it decided to withhold some rental payments.

The heavily-indebted company, which provides residential and nursing care for about 31,000 people, said it would stop paying nearly a third of its rental bill while it attempts to thrash out a wider financial rescue package.

“Our concern is to make sure that there is effective protection in place for residents who might be affected,” Cameron’s spokesman told reporters.

Southern Cross said yesterday it remained hopeful the plan would succeed, adding that negotiations with its landlords would continue through the summer.

“We are confident a critical mass will support the deal,” a spokesman said.

But City A.M. reported yesterday that Bondcare, the owner of 40 of Southern Cross’s 750 homes, will not support the rescue proposal.