Labour has pledged to recruit care workers by guaranteeing fair pay, workers’ rights and appropriate training under a National Care Service as it claimed “too many private equity firms are failing” in their duties to residents.
The party said its research into ratings by the care watchdog had shown around 13% of private equity-owned care homes are not providing good levels of care.
Labour pointed to a review of Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings at the end of June this year, which it said showed that percentage had received the “requires improvement” rating.
Should it get into power, the party has vowed to build a so-called National Care Service which would see private providers required to meet what it called “decent standards, including delivering quality care for residents and running care homes in a financially sustainable way”.
Labour accused some private equity-owned care homes of spending “hundreds of millions servicing debt and avoiding tax”.
Wes Streeting, shadow health and social care secretary, said: “Care home residents deserve to be well looked after and to have the security of a financially stable care home.
“Too many private equity firms are failing to provide basic levels of care to residents, while gambling with care homes’ futures and leeching millions out of the British taxpayer and the pockets of residents.
“Meanwhile care workers are leaving in droves to work at places like Amazon, because the pay and conditions are better.
“It’s bad for residents, their families and the taxpayer.
“The next Labour government will enforce high standards from all providers and kick out those leeching millions out of care.
“We will recruit the care workers needed to look after residents well by guaranteeing fair pay, full rights at work, and proper training.”
Chris Thomas, head of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s commission on health and prosperity, said: “We welcome this commitment to clean up our social care sector.
“Social care should be about helping people thrive, not just survive – and it is unthinkable that some companies with practices antithetical to that mission are awarded government contracts.
“Cleaning up care should mean financial regulation: private providers should have a safe level of reserves and demonstrate they are paying their fair share of tax.
“And a plan should also include minimum ethical standards: paying the real living wage, providing high quality training and demonstrable delivery of high-quality care.”