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Pembrokeshire council takes elderly care back in house in blow to privateers

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council in Wales has taken direct control of elderly care services after the profit-hungry privateer which ran them hit financial trouble.

Allied Healthcare has 150 contracts with local authorities across Britain caring for 13,500 elderly and vulnerable people.

Concerns about the firm’s financial situation were raised in April and care service regulator the Care Quality Commission warned this month that the company’s future was in doubt.

Allied is now attempting to sell or unload the contracts, having proved incapable of running them viably.

Pembrokeshire has reacted by taking back direct control of the work done by the company, restoring the situation that existed before the Tories’ frenzied privatisation of care services.

Forty-five Allied staff have been transferred to council employment as part of the takeover.

Public service union Unison praised the “swift decision,” saying it “reassures vulnerable residents and the care workforce.”                                                         

Unison branch secretary Janet Wyer said: “When services are run directly by councils, there is much greater certainty about the quality and level of professionalism the public can expect.

“There is democratic control and the council can intervene to positively shape the lives of their citizens. 

“Private care companies are always motivated first by profit, rather than what is best for individuals and their families and the care workforce.

“Wages and employment conditions for carers are squeezed and they often suffer in-work poverty. This is not the world we want to live in.

 “We have a population that is living longer and our UK and Welsh governments need to wake up to the fact that we have a crisis in care provision.

“We need an end to brutal austerity spending cuts and much more significant investment in care services and care workers.”

When Tory legislation forced local authorities to put care contracts out to tender, privateers moved in and undercut council bids for the services.

Council staff were then transferred to the private contractors, which invariably slashed wages and standards of service in their efforts to increase profits.

Hundreds of workers, including at Care UK in Doncaster, resisted by going on strike.

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