Tories propose care home co-operatives

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Council care homes could be turned into John Lewis style co-operatives under plans being put forward by the Conservatives.

West Midland mayoral candidate and former John Lewis managing director Andy Street is promising a new generation of co-operatives partly owned by employees.

Mr Lewis told The Times: “Social care homes are one of the more obvious ways we could use the mutual model,” he said.

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“Given the challenges this sector faces, the increased service levels and enhanced efficiency of co-operatives could be invaluable.”

Nadra Ahmed, chairwoman of the National Care Association, said Mr Street’s proposal was “something worth looking at”.

“We all know that the sector has recruitment and retention issues as well as a very significant funding shortfall,” she said.

“Any solution that would help those kinds of problems would certainly be worth examining.”

The number of mutuals, which are organisations fully or majority-owned by their members has been on the rise in recent years.

Around 7,000 co-operatives and over 100 public service mutuals have been formed from government organisations.

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