AROUND 80 people demonstrated outside South Shields Town Hall on Friday of last week against council plans to close or privatise the area's care homes for the elderly. Failure of the heating systems in several of the homes led South Tyneside council to commission a report from consultants KPMG at a cost of £45,000. It recommended closure or transfer to the private sector.
Residents, relatives and supporters have formed a support group that called the demonstration. It was actively supported by the local Unison branch which represents staff in the homes.
Dorothy Parker, a resident at a care home, said, 'All the staff are very helpful and caring. Office workers, carers and janitors all work as a team to help residents. Now all these jobs are under threat, and residents have been offered no alternative.' Blairite David Miliband, the local MP for South Tyneside, has remained silent.