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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 18:28 GMT
County care homes to be sold off
Ellen Pepper
Ellen Pepper says she would rather die than live among strangers
Six care homes in Leicestershire are to be sold-off by the county council to private companies.

It comes after extensive objections to the plan, with around 10,000 people signing a petition to oppose it.

But county councillors voted 30 to 21 in favour of the scheme, which it is claimed will save 650,000 that could be spent on community care.

Thirty companies have already expressed an interest in buying the homes. The bids will now go out to tender.

Earlier, a 95-year-old resident of one of the six homes affected said she would rather die than see new owners take over.

Care 'improved'

Ellen Pepper, who lives at Catherine Dalley House in Melton Mowbray, said: "I don't think anybody else could do any better, and if we get nothing but strangers coming in here to look after us, I don't want to live. I'd sooner die now than have to live among strangers."

Before the meeting, Councillor Matthew O'Callaghan said he feared selling the homes would create problems for the future.

"In 20 years' time the over-85 population in Leicestershire will double," he said.

"The county council are only going to save about 650,000 with this proposal, that's less than point three per cent of the county council budget and they made a surplus last year.

"We've got the money to keep these homes going and we should keep them going and we're going to need these homes in the future."

But county councillor David Sprason insisted selling care homes in the past has been successful.

He said: "The quality of care in those four homes that have transferred has got better.

"The investment in those homes has [also] improved, so the residents' lot has been really improved."

Ellen Pepper at the Catherine Dalley home in Melton Mowbray

Council to spare two care homes
12 Jul 07 |  Leicestershire
Concern over care home closures
20 Apr 07 |  Leicestershire

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