Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Protest against Southampton council care homes closure plan

The protest outside Solent University
Image caption The protesters gathered outside Solent University's Spark building where a regional Labour conference was being held

A protest has been held against a council's plan to close its last two care homes.

Labour-run Southampton City Council would save more than £1.3m if Glen Lee in Bitterne and Holcroft House in Thornhill were shut by 2020.

It has promised to relocate staff and help residents move to other locations, picking up private bills if necessary.

Despite this, union Unite fear 80 jobs will be axed and it organised a protest which about 200 people attended.

The demonstration outside Solent University's Spark building was taking place where politicians, including council leader councillor Christopher Hammond, were giving talks at a regional Labour conference.

'Uprooted'

Mark Wood, Southampton branch secretary, said that while "austerity cuts have left the council with difficult decisions to make" savings should be made elsewhere.

"It can't be right that the elderly residents have to be uprooted from their homes at their advanced time of life.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Holcroft House in Thornhill is one of the care homes earmarked for closure by 2020

"We believe the council needs to reconfigure its priorities."

About 75 elderly people, many with dementia, live in the homes, which are the last remaining authority-owned care homes in the city.

When the budget was announced, Mr Hammond said: "There is a shift away from people using care homes, instead opting to receive care in their own homes.

"As a council we also need to transition over to this and help to provide residents with this care that they're asking for."

Unite and Unison have said their members may go on strike if the council does not abandon the plans.

A decision about the closure is expected in February next year.

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