Falling demand has led Cumbria Council to announce the closure of nine ageing care home in Cumbria.
The closures include three homes in Carlisle, two in Whitehaven and others in Cleator Moor, Egremont, Ulverston and Walney Island, the BBC reports.
Councillor Beth Furneaux said: “We can’t do nothing. The homes we’ve got are not full, many are running close to half full.
“Most of the places we are closing, the environment isn’t suitable for providing high levels of dementia care.”
As part of an overhaul of its social care provision, the council has also announced a £20m investment in two state of the art care homes in Carlisle and Copeland, which are expected to open in 2018.
A new flagship home (pictured) was opened by the council in Barrow last month (see Cumbria Council opens ‘flagship’ £7m care home).
Opponents to the plans say they will result in the halving of beds in the county.
In further news, cabinet has voted to recommend an additional adult social care precept of 2% for 2017/18 to the full council later this month on top of a 1.99% rise in council tax.
Councillor Patricia Bell, deputy leader of Cumbria County Council and cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “The issue of social care funding is one of the major questions that, as a country, we will have to face in the coming years, and Cumbria is no exception.
“The government is expecting councils with social care responsibilities to meet the growing pressures of social care, while at the same time failing to provide the cash that the service requires.
“However, this administration is not content to let the vulnerable or the elderly suffer because social care is underfunded. The County Council has therefore taken the difficult decision to raise council tax in order to ensure that our social care system gets at least some of the funding it needs.”