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Social Care - the Unanswered Questions

Social Care - the Unanswered Questions? Some issues are too important - not just because of the amounts of money involved but because they affect too many lives at too deep a level – for petty political point scoring. One of these is the choice we now face on who pays for social care and how it is paid for. Everyone agrees the current system is complex and unfair and that as our population ages, radical reform is necessary. Labour recognises that the system is in deep crisis now and promises a £3 billion increase in spending per year to plug the black holes in local authority social care budgets and to build a National Care Service that fully integrates the NHS and social care systems.

Posted by Christine Bayliss for Bexhill and Battle on Thursday, 25 May 2017

Some issues are too important - not just because of the amounts of money involved but because they affect too many lives at too deep a level – for petty political point scoring.

One of these is the choice we now face on who pays for social care and how it is paid for.

Everyone agrees the current system is complex and unfair and that as our population ages, radical reform is necessary.

Labour recognises that the system is in deep crisis now and promises a £3 billion increase in spending per year to plug the black holes in local authority social care budgets and to build a National Care Service that fully integrates the NHS and social care systems.

In addition we also promise to ensure that care services providers can pay all their staff a real living wage and to implement the Ethical Care Charter to directly improve service quality.

And this investment would give us the breathing space to end the social care lottery which means that some elderly people accumulate huge lifetime care costs and have to sell their homes to meet them.

But precisely because this problem is so massive and so difficult to fix we don’t pretend that we have one solution and we have committed to find one that has real cross party support and can last for decades and will not need to be chopped and changed after every election.

As above all what elderly people living with or fearing the onset of dementia and their families need is certainty.

The Conservatives do think they have a solution and it is raising the assets threshold after which the elderly have to pay their own costs to £100,000.

Which on the face of it would help some elderly people in residential care as the current asset threshold above which they have to pay all their own costs is £23,250.

But as if often the case with Tory proposals the devil is all in the detail - and the crucial detail here are in their own words ‘this will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account’ and that this applies to both residential care and to care in the home.

This is a hugely important change because under current rules when assets are calculated for residential care needs the value of the family home is often not counted (if for instance an elderly relative like a partner is still living there), and it is usually not counted at all when someone is receiving social care at home.

And to give the exact example that the Conservative candidate for Bexhill and Battle himself used at a hustings last Sunday this would mean that if your home is worth £500,000 and your care costs are £500,000 you ‘only’ have to pay £400,000 and that will ‘only’ have to be paid after you die.

As the implications for anyone who does have a home (and other assets) worth over £100,000 – which is pretty much every elderly person who owns a house or flat in Southern England – sunk in even Conservative-supporting newspapers started to call this a ‘dementia tax’.

So in an unprecedented U-turn Teresa May suddenly announced that there will also be a lifetime cap on total costs that have to be paid, although she had categorically ruled that out beforehand and won’t tell us what that cap will be, as clearly no one has worked out the implications.

And talking of implications nobody seems to have considered what the impact of deferring all re-payments for social care services until after death will have on the budgets of the local authorities that have to pay the costs of residential and home care each week.

This just won’t do.

People in Bexhill and Battle and people in the rest of the country need to know what they are voting for on June 8th.

A couple where one partner needs expensive social care but the other doesn’t needs to know what happens to them and the house the surviving partner is still living in when the partner who owes the social care bill dies.

A homeowner who has worked hard all their life to leave something to their children needs a better idea than ‘whatever happens we will let you keep the last £100,000 of your estate’ of what they will actually be leaving behind.

Local authorities struggling to meet their existing social care costs need to know how they will cover the new funding gap the Tory proposals for both a raised asset threshold and payments deferred after death will create.

The Conservative proposals on social care leave too many such fundamental questions unanswered.

Social Care: The Unanswered Questions

Social Care - the Unanswered Questions Social Care - the Unanswered Questions? Some issues are too important - not just because of the amounts of money involved but because they...

Christine Bayliss at the neighbourhood police panel
Christine Bayliss at the neighbourhood police panel

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Bexhill has blamed Government cuts to local policing budgets for the sharp rise in crime figures for the town since the start of the year.

Christine, a former Sussex policewoman, who is standing in the General Election in the Bexhill and Battle seat, blames swingeing cuts to the police budget for a lack of resources that have led to the increase in crime. Crime statistics for the town showed that burglary, car crime, shoplifting and hate crimes had all increased year-on-year.

She said: “I am afraid this is another real-life example of the consequences of seven years of Conservative austerity. Sadly the consequences of the cutbacks are not felt by the few, but instead everybody who lives and works in the town suffers the consequences.

“A Labour Government would begin to reverse these cuts and put more bobbies back on the streets of our towns. I believe that there is a direct connection between these dramatic increases in crime figures and the reduction of police and community support officers on the beat in Bexhill. The Conservative cuts to the police budget are beginning to impact on public safety”.

The shocking crime increases were revealed at Bexhill Central Neighbourhood Police Panel on Wednesday evening 10 May. The Panel met at Bexhill Youth and Community Centre in Station Road.

They considered the new crime figures as the context for setting the priorities for policing in central Bexhill for the next three months. Overall shoplifting is up 57% on 2016, vehicle crime up 119% and Burglary up 74%.

A 27% increase in Hate Crime compared with the same period in 2016, coming nearly a year after the decision to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum, caused residents attending the meeting particular concern.

Bexhill Crime Statistics
   
1st January - 9th May
     
   
2016
2017
Increase
       
%
Shoplifting
 
51
80
57%
Vehicle crime
 
26
57
119%
Burglary
 
19
33
74%
Hate Crime
 
11
14
27%
Source: Bexhill Central Neighbourhood Police Panel

New Crime Figures

Christine Bayliss at the neighbourhood police panel Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Bexhill has blamed Government cuts to local policing budgets for the sharp rise in crime figures for the town...

Former Sussex policewoman Christine Bayliss, who is the Labour Party candidate in Bexhill and Battle, has said a return of the Conservative Government would be the end of “community policing”.

Labour candidate Christine BaylissChristine, who won a commendation for bravery from her time with the police on the streets of Hastings, says Government austerity has savaged the police budget effectively extinguishing the chances of ever seeing a ‘Bobby on the beat’.

She says that a vote for Labour on June 8 will give the police an injection of funds and pay for thousands of new officers.

During her nine years of service she helped establish the first Neighbourhood Watch area and was a pioneer community beat officer in St Leonards.

She is now horrified as the savage cuts to police officer numbers and that some duties like parking enforcement are no longer being carried out. Christine also believes the budget restrictions mean vital crime-fighting links between the police and local communities has been quietly abolished.

Hastings Observer ClippingShe said: “As a former police officer I know how important it is to have local police officers who know the neighbourhood and people in it. The Conservative Government have taken away twenty thousand police officers nationally which is why we rarely see a bobby on the beat.

“The Conservatives cuts have sent a wrecking ball through police numbers and community policing. People who want to see more police safeguarding our homes and communities need to vote Labour, as we will invest in all our vital public services.”

In Rother for example, the number of Police Community Support officers (PCSOs) has been cut by 43% compared with 12 months ago. The new police plan now aims to break the link between the PCSOs and their communities and pool this precious community resource as a way of saving money. Labour will reverse the cut of twenty thousand police officers since 2010 providing ten thousand new officers paid for by reversing the £2.7 billion cut in capital gains tax.

The Tories will tell you the General Election is all about Brexit but in reality a vote for the Tories is a vote to endorse their strategy of cuts to vital public services. Don’t let them get off scot-free. Vote for Christine Bayliss on June 8.

Caught Red Handed

Former Sussex policewoman Christine Bayliss, who is the Labour Party candidate in Bexhill and Battle, has said a return of the Conservative Government would be the end of “community policing”....

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