Jeremy Corbyn vows to take failing care homes into public ownership
Financially failing care homes will be taken into public ownership under a Labour government in order to protect social care provision, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The Labour leader warned the entire social care system was at "serious risk of breakdown" unless the Government invested more money.
In a speech to the Fabian Society new year conference, he said cuts of £4.6 billion over the course of the last parliament created a "social care crisis made in Downing Street".
Care homes had been faced with a combination of rising costs and falling fee payments from councils which had resulted in 380 businesses being declared insolvent since 2010.
At the same time he said figures from the Care Quality Commission showed one in five nursing homes did not have sufficient staff on duty to ensure residents received good, safe care.
"They've now told councils to fill the gap by raising council tax but that won't even meet 3% of what councils are already spending on social care for the elderly," he said.
"They're passing the buck to the councils, shifting the blame and handing you the bill.
"Labour will not let the elderly down, people who've worked all their lives, paid their taxes and made a massive contribution to society.
"So a Labour government would give social care the funding it needs and give a firm commitment to take failed private care homes into public ownership to maintain social care protection.
"It's the least we can do to guarantee dignity for people who've given so much to our country."
At the end of a week in which his own leadership has come under fresh attack, Mr Corbyn accused the Conservatives of slashing taxes for the richest - with cuts of £70 billion over the next five years - while cutting pay and public services for the rest.
"The people who run Britain have been taking our country for a ride. They've stitched up our political system to protect the powerful," he said.
"The truth is the system simply doesn't work for the vast majority of people. Labour under my leadership stands for a complete break with this rigged system.
"We will hand back wealth and control to people and communities."
He also took a swipe at the Government over its handling of the Southern Rail dispute and reiterated his support for striking drivers.
"I would rather stand on a picket line for a safely staffed railway than stand with the fat cat rail bosses charging rail passengers an arm and a leg," he said.