Emily Thornberry MP, Labour's Shadow Health Minister, has responded to the Business Secretary's announcement that he will examine the business models of companies like Southern Cross which operate public services.
The Tory-led Government's announcement today follows a call from Ed Miliband earlier this week for the Government to investigate the regulation of this sector.
Emily Thornberry said:
"Vince Cable said on Monday that private companies like Southern Cross were a matter for the sector regulators. Now, following Ed Miliband's call for the Government to look into this, he says that he will examine the business models of private companies providing public services. Vince Cable needs to set out the terms of his investigation in detail or people affected by Southern Cross will worry that he is offering nothing but empty promises.
"The residents of Southern Cross seem to have been treated merely as commodities. The Government must look urgently at whether the regulation of this sector should be extended to cover the financial stability of organisations which provide these vital services for thousands of elderly people.
"Ministers must give a guarantee to residents and their families that there will be no fall in standards of care and safety. There must be an increase in the number of inspections. Unfortunately, the short-sightedness of the Government which placed a recruitment freeze on the CQC means that the regulator itself has a shortage of inspectors to carry out this work."