Care home closures at Peterborough hustings

11:45 Friday 1st May 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Is it time we talked about adult social care in a serious way Stewart Jackson? Is it time we looked after our elderly in a better way, and spent more money on it? Surely not the time to be closing care homes, is it?
STEWART JACKSON: Well I’m not going to defend the City Council’s decision on care homes. They’ll have to come on and defend that themselves. My view is that in a sense adult social care and the co-ordination between acute district hospitals, GPs and the City Council is almost an issue above politics. Because none of us can stop the demographic change, the number of over 85’s doubling in the next twenty years.
PAUL STAINTON: And it’s time to do something now isn’t it Lisa Forbes, and everybody get together on this before it’s too late In thirty years time we’re all going to be looking after each other on zimmer frames, aren’t we?

LISA FORBES: Yes. Well my mum worked at a residential care home for the elderly, Vawser Lodge. She worked there for twenty seven years. And when it closed it was a huge disservice to people in Peterborough. And what we’ve found since then with huge cuts to adult social care, the closure of those residential; homes to the elderly, is that we’re finding that people that are not sick enough to be in hospital but not well enough to be at home, which would have used those residential care homes ..
PAUL STAINTON: Nowhere to go.
LISA FORBES: .. intermediate care and respite care, have got nowhere to go. And it’s actually costing us more money in the long term to put them into private residential homes. And Stewart, you could have campaigned against those closures. Again, you blame the Tories in the Town Hall, but you voted for those cuts in Parliament that the Tories in the Town Hall are having to make.
STEWART JACKSON: Your group kept the Tory administration in place at the last ..
LISA FORBES: We campaigned against the residential care home closure. Of course we did.
STEWART JACKSON: Your group voted to keep the current Conservative administration in place, rightly or wrongly.
PAUL STAINTON: On Peterborough City Council.
STEWART JACKSON: On Peterborough City Council.
PAUL STAINTON: That is true though isn’t it Lisa?
LISA FORBES: There was no way ..
PAUL STAINTON: That is true though.
LISA FORBES: There was no way that such a splintered opposition could have come together and formed ..
STEWART JACKSON: Answer the question.
LISA FORBES: I am answering ..
STEWART JACKSON: You kept the administration in place.
LISA FORBES: I am answering the question. You couldn’t have had a coalition of UKIP, Labour, Liberals, Independents. It just wasn’t going to work. And I could see that ..
PAUL STAINTON: To be fair.
LISA FORBES: And I know that you know that as well Stewart.
STEWART JACKSON: If you were so opposed to the administration and its actions. ..
PAUL STAINTON: Guys, guys.
STEWART JACKSON: .. why didn’t you vote it out?
PAUL STAINTON: Guys, there’s more than two of you here, OK? There’s more than two of you here. Everybody else is going to have their say. Let’s move on to Mary Herdman. Adult social care was what we were talking about Mary. Are we looking after our elderly people in Peterborough as we should be now, never mind thirty years?
MARY HERDMAN: No we’re not. We should never have closed any care homes. Nursing, residential care homes should always be left open. We need them desperately. And they are blocking beds in the hospital. We need them to be able to move from the hospital, these elderly people, into care homes, and hopefull get them back into their own homes. But it is most important. Again, like the bus routes, that’s something that Peterborough City Council should never ever have closed.
PAUL STAINTON: Darren Fower, why didn’t you get together with the Labour Party? If care homes was so important, why didn’t you get together with the Labour Party on Peterborough City Council and all stand together?
DARREN FOWER: Well yes. Bottom line is it’s an element of recognising that at that point people had voted, and they had unfortunately there was more Conservative councillors. And there was the possibility, but what I’ve discovered since is that the group, the splinter group that Lisa mentioned that was going to be led by a chap called councillor Harrington has now suddenly come out in public support for the present Conservative MP, shock horror.
PAUL STAINTON: Well councillor Harrington is not here to defend himself.
DARREN FOWER: Well that is a fact though. I’m just saying, therefore we were right at that time to realise that there was a bit of a cheeky attempt going on.
LISA FORBES: By Stewart Jackson.
DARREN FOWER: We recognised what was going ..
PAUL STAINTON: It’s a very simple question. Why didn’t you all stand together and vote against these cuts, if they were that important?
DARREN FOWER: Some of the people who were looking to take over as such just were not in our opinion of a standard, of a pedigree, of a principled background, that we could actually support. And that obviously was people like UKIP.
PAUL STAINTON: Darren Bisby-Boyd Greens. He’s got an answer, haven’t you?
DARREN BISBY-BOYD: Well I have an answer, and it’s all about self-interest. The reason they didn’t want to form an opposition ..
PAUL STAINTON: Labour and the LibDems. Yes.
DARREN BISBY-BOYD: Well not only them
PAUL STAINTON: All of them.
DARREN BISBY-BOYD: All of them on the Opposition. Because I actually wrote to them all about the situation with the libraries and community centres and I got very little/variable? response. There doesn’t seem to be a will to actually work for the people of Peterborough. I thought people got into politics to actually represent their actual wards. And what we’re seeing across, not only in this council but other councils, people looking after self-interest, where they’re all herded together within their parties and told what to do, to abstain, to do it this way. The fact of the matter is ..
PAUL STAINTON: No conscience is what you’re saying.
DARREN BISBY-BOYD: No conscience, no morality. Because the fact of the matter is people are elected to be representatives. I come from a country where I was born in where basically people were shooting and killing each other. And if we’re honestly being told on the City Council that they can’t get on with each other and work for the common good for people .. The fact of the matter is the reason they wouldn’t work together is because it’s all about getting the blame. If they all went into an opposition, we’re coming up to a general election year, who do you think would get the blame for the current budget. It would be the opposition parties. So to save face they left the Tories in place, so therefore then they could get the blame of what’s going on with the Council. It’s all about self interest.And with regards to the situation about not working with certain parties, I’ll work with anybody who has a common interest. Just because I don’t get along with somebody on a personal level, or agree with their actual rights, I will actually work with somebody professionally to get the job done.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. Darren, thank you. Lisa Forbes, the reason you didn’t stand against cutting, closing these care homes was because you had no conscience, is what Darren is saying.
LISA FORBES: We did stand against them. I campaigned vociferously against the closure of the care homes.
PAUL STAINTON: But you didn’t vote against them, did you? And you couldn’t even agree between yourselves.
LISA FORBES: We did vote against them. What we couldn’t do is allow councillor Harrington .. because basically what we’ve got in Peterborough is the Tories are split. There are Stewart Jackson’s Tories, and there’s Marco’s Tories.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s a bit rich, coming from you Lisa, isn’t it?
LISA FORBES: It’s obvious now that councillor Harrington has since come out, this is the guy that wanted to depose Marco from the Council and have all the Labour councillors behind him, he has since come out in favour of you..
PAUL STAINTON: He’s not here to defend himself.
STEWART JACKSON: On a personal level.
LISA FORBES: On a leaflet.
PAUL STAINTON: He’s not here to defend himself.
STEWART JACKSON: And of course Labour ..
PAUL STAINTON: Stewart, Stewart, Stewart.
STEWART JACKSON: Labour were given two jobs as trinkets.
PAUL STAINTON: Stewart Stewart Stewart. I’m going to put your fader down. I’m putting you all .. I’ve done this before. I’m doing it again. Anyway. Listen. Councillor Harrington is not here to defend himself. I don’t want accusations flying around that he can’t defend. But to say the Council was split left, right and centre is a fair indication I think, both Tory and Labour on that particular subject.