Criticism over plans to close council-run care homes in Leeds

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Council plans to close its last three specialist residential care homes could cause “anguish”, unions have warned.

Leeds City Council has unveiled proposals to shut the homes, in Morley, Armley and Seacroft, affecting 69 residents, as well as associated day centres.

It is also looking at ceasing most council-provided home care services, hitting hundreds of jobs.

The moves, set to be discussed by councillors next week, could save a total of £12m over the next four years.

Council bosses say no decisions will be made until a full consultation has taken place, and no-one will be asked to leave their home until an alternative was available.

But a union representative criticised the plans, the latest in a raft of care home closures.

Jon Smith, regional officer for the GMB, said: “The last two times they have done this, it has caused nothing but anguish for staff and residents.

“It will mean Leeds will have no more local authority residential homes.

“For a city the size of Leeds to announce that, it’s something I hoped we would never see, particularly from a Labour council. What we are going to end up with is purely private sector provision.”

He added that additional proposals to stop providing home care direct could affect 400 workers, and if they went ahead would essentially mean the end of Leeds City Council-provided adult social care.

The Better Lives strategy, which includes shutting Siegen Manor in Morley, Middlecross in Armley and The Green in Seacroft, is part of a multi-million pound cost-cutting drive.

Permanent admissions to Knowle Manor in Morley and Spring Gardens in Otley would cease once a suitable alternative has been identified, while a business case will be drawn up for Home Lea House and Dolphin Manor in Rothwell, which community groups could establish social enterprises to run.

Coun Adam Ogilvie, executive member for adult social care, said they were “incredibly difficult options”, but necessary.

“We are acutely aware that any consultation concerning the future of care provision can create a great deal of uncertainty and worry for those who receive care as well as for their family and loved ones.

“However, the harsh reality is that government cuts to our budget mean we simply cannot afford to continue to provide adult social care in the same way that we have in the past and we must look at new ways of doing things both now and in the future.

“Whatever the result of the consultation, nobody will be forced to leave their home or day services until an alternative has been found nearby that they are happy with and which fits their individual needs.”

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