PRIME Minister David Cameron was today urged to intervene in the problems facing Britains biggest care home operator.

Darlington based Southern Cross warned on Monday that it was in danger of breaching its banking covenants and had brought in KPMG to help speed up renegotiations with its landlords over rents.

The firm, employing 200 people at its headquarters in Archer Street and 43,000 across the UK, leases the majority of its 750 care homes and has seen rents rising faster than fees it receives.

At Prime Ministers Question Time Labour's Jim Cunningham said Southern Cross, which looks after 31,000 people, the majority of which are financed by local authorities, was in "great difficulties".

He urged the Prime Minister to try to find a solution as the situation was now becoming "very serious".

Mr Cameron said he would instruct one of his ministers to get in touch with Mr Cunningham "urgently" over the situation.

Mr Cunningham, the MP for Coventry South, said: "Thirty one thousand old people could be affected by this.

"Will you talk to the parent company to see whether or not a solution can be found because this is a very serious situation."

Mr Cameron replied: "I will ask the Health Secretary or one of his ministers to contact you urgently to discuss this.

"It is vitally important we have good residential care provision in our country and it is vitally important there is competition and choice in that residential care provision.

"There are many private providers that provide an excellent service but I will make sure one of my ministers gets in touch with you straight away."

The group has already spoken to its lenders, who have said they will be supportive, even if a breach of the covenants occurs, because of measures the group is taking.