Homes' feud with council continues

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 May 2011

ILFRACOMBE Town Council is giving away a total of £30,000 in community grants.

ILFRACOMBE Town Council is giving away a total of £30,000 in community grants.

Archant

A BITTER funding dispute between a dozen care homes and North Somerset Council looks set to go to the wire after a latest round of talks broke down.

The group of care home owners met up with council representatives in an attempt to find a breakthrough in negotiations for resident fees last week.

But the owners claim they ‘hit a brick wall’ when they were told the council could not move on an initial offer made two years ago.

Meanwhile, a council spokesman said no agreement could be reached because ‘no detailed proposals’ were put forward.

Lyndhurst Park Nursing Home owner Gordon Butcher said: “It was my stupidity to think I could arrange these talks in hope of some agreement - the council would not move a pound, not even a penny, from their original offer.

“It was a complete waste of time, we hit a brick wall and I came away very frustrated.”

The alliance of homes says the £80 per resident they receive per day does not pay for 24-hour nursing care, accommodation and food they provide.

They initially called for a 12 per cent rise in funding, but North Somerset Council refused the increase, saying a 3.6 per cent increase it has offered is fair.

Mr Butcher said: “We are confident an arbitration hearing will find for us and we will get a rise in fees – if we don’t we will simply struggle to pay for our residents.”

However, a council spokesman said the homes were already paid some of the highest fees for residents in the South West.

He said: “Because the nursing homes had asked for the meeting, council officers were keen to hear any specific proposals they had to resolve the dispute and avoid escalating legal costs.

“Unfortunately no detailed proposals were put forward by the nursing homes so no agreement could be reached.

“The council wants to reassure residents that they are committed to providing the best possible residential care available.”

An independent mediator panel is now set to settle the dispute at an arbitration hearing in September.

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