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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”....

Christine Bayliss has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the Bexhill and Battle constituency to stand in this June’s general election.

Labour candidate Christine Bayliss
Labour candidate Christine Bayliss

Christine has lived in Bexhill and Battle most of her adult life. She has been active in local politics, serving as a Rother District Councillor in the 1990s and most recently has been at the forefront of the Democracy4Bexhill campaign that aims to encourage Bexhill people to join in the debate about how Bexhill should be governed.

She is a Trustee of Aurora Academies Trust - a multi-academy trust based in Bexhill as well as a trustee of Mnarani Aid, a charity that raises money for children with special educational needs in Kenya.  She has worked for the Department for Education and commuted to London from Battle for 15 years. Since 2015, Christine has run her own consultancy business in Bexhill-on- sea. 

Speaking after the selection, Christine said;

“Bexhill and Battle is my home. It’s where I live and work and I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for June’s general election. This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. We have seen cuts to social care which in turn are putting a strain on the NHS, school budgets are being cut while at the same time Tories want to waste money on expanding grammar schools, Police officers and PCSO numbers are being reduced at the same time as we have seen a rise in crime and local transport is a mess.  It just doesn’t have to be like this. 

Labour candidate Christine Bayliss
Christine is at the forefront of the Democracy4Bexhill campaign

“People here in Bexhill and Battle need a local representative that will put them first. Its time for the voters of Bexhill and Battle to take back control and elect a representative that will listen and work with them to make their voices heard. It’s a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of Bexhill and Battle or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few.”

Conor Hill, Chair of Bexhill and Battle Labour Party, added;

“I welcome the appointment of Christine as Labour’s Candidate for Bexhill and Battle for June’s general election. As someone who lives in the constituency, I know that if elected on the 8th June, Christine will put this area first and will be a committed and local MP – that’s what Bexhill and Battle deserves. 

“Christine is a committed local campaigner, with outstanding experience in many different jobs, including being self-employed running her own consultancy business, which means that she understands first-hand the struggles of working people.

“Over the coming weeks I will be joining Christine on the campaign trail and I am looking forward to supporting her as Labour’s candidate.”

Labour Announce Candidate for Bexhill and Battle Constituency

Christine Bayliss has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the Bexhill and Battle constituency to stand in this June’s general election. Labour candidate Christine Bayliss Christine has lived in Bexhill and Battle most...

Labour supporters campaigning in Sidley

In response to the announcement of a snap general election to be held on Thursday, 8th June we've started a crowdfunding page to help finance our general election campaign in Bexhill & Battle.

Our target is to raise £3,000 between now and the election. If you donate via our crowdfunding page, your contribution is added directly to the CLP's election fund.

We know there are many other calls for donations out there at the moment in the wake of the election having been called, but this fund has a huge impact on our ability to fight a strong campaign on the ground where you live.

If you want Labour to be a strong, visible presence in Bexhill and Battle in the run-up to June 8th, this is the fund you should contribute to.

Click here to donate to our fund


Any donations over the value of £500, please contact us first (chair@bexhillandbattlelabour.org.uk). All donations over £500 (in cash or in kind) must be from permissible donors and all donations of over £1500 (in cash or in kind) from a single source in a calendar year must be reported to the Electoral Commission, so please reach out to us before proceeding with your donation.

We're crowdfunding our election campaign

In response to the announcement of a snap general election to be held on Thursday, 8th June we've started a crowdfunding page to help finance our general election campaign in...

Please sign the Bexhill Labour Party’s petition (below) calling on Rother District Council to establish a community based Town Council for Bexhill.

The Labour Party is campaigning for Bexhill to have its own Town Council so that residents can have a greater say in how Bexhill is run. Rother District Council is far too remote with a majority of councillors representing rural wards with issues that are different to that of a seaside town like Bexhill. We believe that power should be exercised at the lowest practical level - close to the people who are affected by decisions. A Town Council, based in the community would restore civic pride and build on the strength of Bexhill’s vibrant voluntary sector.

You can read more about Bexhill Labour Party’s proposals here.

Sign our petition for a Bexhill Town Council

Please sign the Bexhill Labour Party’s petition (below) calling on Rother District Council to establish a community based Town Council for Bexhill. The Labour Party is campaigning for Bexhill to...

 Labour party members supporting the proposed Bexhill town council

Bexhill Labour Party have responded to Rother’s Community Governance Review with a resounding vote in favour of reintroducing a Town Council for Bexhill. Handing in their detailed plan to Rother District Council offices in Bexhill, party members argue that Bexhill lost out when its council was abolished in 1974 and that the current arrangements are remote and do not command loyalty from residents.

Vice Chairman of the Bexhill and Battle Constituency Party Christine Bayliss said “who actually tells people they live in Rother? I’m a Bexhillian and very proud of my town”. Bexhill Branch Chair and Candidate for Bexhill East Conor Hill said “A lot of development is taking place in our area and it’s important that local people get to make decisions about how the effects are mitigated”.

The key proposals in Labour’s response are:

  • Reintroduction of a Town Council to restore civic pride and build on the strength of Bexhill’s vibrant voluntary community.
  • Locate the Town Council offices in an empty shop or office in the Town Centre as a cost effective solution to bringing governance closer to local people.
  • Rotate council meetings around the town so that local communities in Little Common, Sidley and Pebsham can access local democracy.

A town council should start by looking after services currently paid for by Bexhill’s special expenses (Parks, Recreation Grounds, allotments) and draw up a Neighbourhood Plan to set high development standards for house builders.

Pictured with Labour Party members are three prospective Labour Party candidates for May’s County Council elections:

Andy Batsford (Bexhill North) “As someone born and bread in Sidley I know how badly let down the residents of Sidley and North Bexhill feel by the current out of touch Tory Councillors”.

Richard Sage (Bexhill South) “Parking is a big issue in Bexhill South. A Town Council could stand-up to a County Council more intent on cutting funding than providing services communities need ”

Sam Coleman (Bexhill West) “Because of Tory cuts, services for young people are non existent in Bexhill. If a Town Council had support from the community – it could press the County Council to do much more”

If you want to access Bexhill’s response to the Community Governance Review please download the document from this link https://goo.gl/zTDqZh

Resounding Thumbs Up For A Bexhill Town Council From Labour

  Bexhill Labour Party have responded to Rother’s Community Governance Review with a resounding vote in favour of reintroducing a Town Council for Bexhill. Handing in their detailed plan to...

East Sussex County Council

On Tuesday February 7th the Tory-led and UKIP-supported East Sussex County Council passed a budget that included both a 4.99% increase in council tax rate and a £17 million package of cuts in 2017/18 and then another £21.5m in 2018/19 which will further damage local services and lead to a loss of an estimated 200-250 council jobs.

The Tory budget was opposed by the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on the council who each put forward their own amended budget to reduce and restore some of these cuts - and both of which were predictably defeated by their Tories and their UKIP and Independent allies.

The Labour amendment moved by Cllr Trevor Webb was supported by 9 councillors: the 6 Labour councillors present, one of the only two - out of six - UKIP councillors (Ian Buchanan) who turned up for the meeting and 2 Independent councillors (Ruth O'Keefe from Lewes and Stephen Shing from Willingdon).

Our amendment was opposed by all 21 Conservatives, the only other UKIP councillor present (Philip Howson - who distinguished himself in the debate by a lengthy denunciation of the immigrants who are apparently to blame for the budget crisis) and both of the Independent councillors from Bexhill (Stuart Earl and Charles Clark) - while the 9 Lib Dems present all abstained.

The Lib Dem amendment which was rather more modest in reducing cuts than the Labour one was supported by the 9 Lib Dems, by all 6 Labour councillors and Independent Cllr O'Keefe - and was again voted down by all 21 Tories plus both UKIPers and the two Bexhill Independents.

The Tory budget was then passed by 25 votes to 15 - the 25 being again the 21 Tories, both UKIPers (although Cllr Buchanan had earlier voted with Labour on their amendment when it came to the last hurdle he for some unfathomable reason sided with the Tories) and both of the Bexhill Independents.

So on top of all cuts made in previous years another £38.5m is to be cut from East Sussex services over the next two years.

But it was not the Tories (who only have 21 seats of the 49 and are thus a minority administration) alone who made this possible, but also the UKIP councillors who either voted with them or just didn't turn up at all - and the two Independents from Bexhill Stuart Earl and Charles Clark who voted yet again with the Tories.

The full 18 page list of cuts is detailed at https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=12765 and includes:

  •  £1.3 million to be taken from adult social care services for carer support, services for the homeless and at risk of homelessness and substance misuse programmes
  • £655,000 cut from older people day services and support for people with learning disabilities living in the community 
  • £17.3m cut from ESCC's contribution to the East Sussex Better Together programme which will have major impacts on adult social care
  • £2.9m in savings from merging services with Surrey - which will cost jobs at both councils and further diminish direct democratic accountability for service delivery.  
  • £8.7m cut from a wide range of children's services 
  • £3.2m cut from communities and transport budget mainly impacting our libraries. 

The impact of these cuts - mostly driven as even East Sussex Tories will admit by ever greater reductions in the grants to local councils made by over the last 7 years by David Cameron's and Theresa May's governments - will be very significant and will fall by definition on the most vulnerable members of our community.

On May 4th East Sussex county council elections are held where we can respond by voting against the Tories, their UKIP allies and those Independent councillors like Stuart Earl and Charles Clark who side with the Tories when it comes to cutting vital local services - and we will do everything we can to ensure Labour candidates stand in every division and to help return Labour councillors not just from Hastings (where all 7 Labour members on current council were elected from) but from divisions like Bexhill North which have in the not so remote past also elected Labour county councillors.

East Sussex County Council Budget Report: Tories and their council allies make another £38.5 million cuts to our services

On Tuesday February 7th the Tory-led and UKIP-supported East Sussex County Council passed a budget that included both a 4.99% increase in council tax rate and a £17 million package...

Labour campaigned in last year's referendum to remain in the European Union — and nearly two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain.

As we all know, the result was a vote to leave.

We are not a party for the 48% or the 52%, but for everyone. We have an important role to play in bringing the country together and getting the best possible deal from Brexit.

Labour respects the will of the British people. But we do not respect the will of a Tory government that is threatening to relegate Britain to a bargain basement tax haven.

That's why we will vote to trigger Article 50 in the European Union Withdrawal Bill — but also will use every means at our disposal to make sure jobs, living standards, workers' rights and environmental protections are protected in the negotiations that follow.

So Labour has tabled a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure there is meaningful parliamentary scrutiny at every stage and a vote on the final deal.

We have also tabled an amendment to build in the broad principles we need to get the best outcome for our country — including tariff-free access to the single market and an anti-tax haven amendment to make sure the Prime Minister does not use Brexit as an excuse to duck out of tackling tax avoidance and evasion.

And we will support amendments to ensure the Tories don't yet again attack people's rights at work.

This is a difficult moment for our party. We campaigned to remain, but we have to accept the democratic result.

We will be reaching out to our friends and allies in the European socialist and progressive parties to help secure an agreement that strengthens cooperation and solidarity across Europe.

We must remember that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us: our commitment to defend our NHS, to campaign against the Tories' cuts to schools and social care — and our determination to build a country in which no one and no community is left behind.

We will vote for Article 50, but we will not be giving the Tories a blank cheque on their damaging agenda for Brexit — or any of their other failures.

Best wishes,

Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party

Letter from Jeremy Corbyn about our approach to Brexit

Labour campaigned in last year's referendum to remain in the European Union — and nearly two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain. As we all know, the result was a...

The Red Cross being called in to help in our hospitals is just the latest staggering example of how the NHS is now being pushed to breaking point

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, commenting on the Red Cross being called in to help our hospitals, said:

"The Red Cross being called in to help in our hospitals is just the latest staggering example of how the NHS is now being pushed to breaking point. For the Red Cross to brand the situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ should be a badge of shame for government ministers."

"This winter we are seeing a third of hospitals reporting they need urgent help to cope with the numbers of patients coming through the doors, A&Es have had to turn patients away more than 140 times in December because they couldn’t cope and several hospitals have admitted they couldn’t offer patients comprehensive care. More patients are languishing on trolleys and in ambulance queues. Meanwhile hospitals have been desperately pleading on Twitter for patients to stay away from A&E."

"The stark reality is the NHS is facing a crisis this winter and in need of urgent help from Ministers. It’s time Theresa May urgently faced up to her responsibilities and abandoned her policy of systematically underfunding our NHS."

The NHS is being pushed to breaking point

The Red Cross being called in to help in our hospitals is just the latest staggering example of how the NHS is now being pushed to breaking pointJonathan Ashworth MP,...

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