FAMILIES are stepping up their fight to save East Renfrewshire's only council-run care home from a private buy-out.

Relatives of elderly residents in Bonnyton House in Busby will deliver a petition signed by more than 1,600 people to council officials on Monday.

The council wants to sell the care home as part of a plan to save £20 million over the next three years.

Staff say they were warned the home could be closed down if a buyer is not found and fear standards will fall under private ownership.

Bonnyton has 28 beds for residential care. It also offers day-care services for up to 200 people and respite care.

The council say the home is not cost-effective compared with other local providers with comparable or better ratings. It is due to make a decision on the future of the home on February 12.

Families have come up with an alternative plan, which they say could cut running costs by around £100,000, including increasing the number of beds and charging higher fees for day care.

The families fight to retain council ownership has been backed by Jackson Carlaw, Conservative MSP for the West of Scotland.

He said: "The uncertainty facing residents and staff at Bonnyton House is completely unacceptable, unnecessary and could have been avoided had the administration at East Renfrewshire Council listened to Conservative councillors.

"Despite increasing pressure on the staff due to funding being reduced, the quality of service has increased in recent years.

"With £20 million of cuts proposed over the next five years, ERC have a duty to provide answers."

The petition will be presented by Nettie Hall, who is in her 90s and lived across the road from the home for some 60 years before becoming a resident herself.

Bonnyton was awarded three 'good' ratings and a 'very good' by care watchdogs in the last report.

Inspectors highlighted that staff had a good knowledge and understanding of individual residents' care and support needs.

A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council said: "We would like to thank all the residents of Bonnyton and their friends and family for contributing to this petition.

"The council has committed to working with the families, friends and staff of Bonntyon House to carefully consider alternative savings proposals that may help the council to continue to run the home, albeit in a different way."