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MPs join forces to oppose home care privatisation

'Service will suffer' if plans go ahead

Bristol's Labour MPs have all signed a petition, urging the City Council's Lib Dem administration to reject the privatisation of home care in the city. Roger Berry, Kerry McCarthy, Doug Naysmith and Dawn Primarolo will also be tabling a statement to the council's Cabinet, who will make a decision tomorrow.

Commenting on the proposals, Dawn said:

"We understand that the City Council needs to provide excellent services that are value for money. These proposals do neither. Home care workers provide an invaluable service for thousands of people in Bristol. We are concerned that the service will suffer - with people losing their regular carers - if these plans go ahead".

"The council seems to have rushed to the private sector on this delicate issue. The Executive Member for Housing and Adult Community Care needs to clarify what steps he has taken to maximise the effectiveness of in-house provision".

Kerry added:

"We are concerned that, in the long run, this could have a serious effect on women in Bristol. Home care workers in our city are almost exclusively women. With a private contractor in place, new employees will not be guaranteed the terms and conditions of those already in post, while current staff are sceptical that they will receive adequate protection. This Labour Government has taken enormous steps to reduce the pay gap, but disparities remain and these plans will serve only to increase inequalities".

Roger agrees:

"The Cabinet have a vital decision to make. They can either support home care workers and those vulnerable and elderly people who receive the service, or they can leave them to an uncertain future".

Dawn has today asked Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, to join with Bristol's Labour MPs and sign the petition. She said:

"This is not a party political issue - it's about fairness and protecting vulnerable people. Stephen Williams has got a chance to stand up for his constituents and speak out against this barmy plan. I urge him to join us in opposing these proposals and put pressure on his Lib Dem colleagues who are trying to force this through. Home care workers, people who use the service, and their families deserve to know where their MP stands on this issue".

[7 February 2007]

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