A simple breakdown of the five main political parties’ main manifesto pledges for social care and social work
Labour’s election manifesto offers confused plans for the NHS, while the Conservatives have admitted there are serious problems with existing legislation.
The Tory manifesto says that if the “current legislative landscape” – dominated by the government’s own health reforms – is hampering the Five Year Forward Viewor undermining local or national accountability they will fix it, as well as do what they can in the meantime to remove barriers to care integration.
It identifies the internal market as the key problem, because it is too expensive to run and can fail to work in patients’ interests.
This is a significant move. It had been assumed that Theresa May would avoid reopening the issue of NHS reform at the same time as navigating Brexit. But she has clearly been persuaded that the benefits of cutting running costs and making it easier to join up services outweigh the risks.
One of the weaknesses in Labour’s proposals is muddled thinking about the organisational building blocks of the health service. It promises to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which imposed Andrew Lansley’s dysfunctional NHS reforms, and to “halt and review” sustainability and transformation plans(STPs).
So instead of trying to fix problems introduced by the reforms,
THOUSANDS of elderly and vulnerable patients are still enduring 15-minute “flying care” visits, two years after they were supposed to have stopped. More than a dozen councils across Britain have co…
Confusion or realignment, will Lady Nicholson state?
Lib Dem peer Lady Nicholson has just announced she has re-defected back to the Tories.
Nicholson’s defection comes 20 years after she defected to the Lib Dems from the Tories because of what she called the party’s “shilly- shallying” over Europe.
In 1995, Nicholson also said the Tories anti-EU policies were “rotten for Britain, bad for our people and abominable for trade”.
Erm … Nicholson doesn’t think the Tories are “shilly-shallying” enough over Europe now?
The following has been seen on Facebook by Same Difference:
Liberal Democrats are to calling on the Government to hold an emergency summit with key disability groups into the growing crisis with PIP reassessments and Motability.
Liberal Democrat Disability Champion, Baroness Celia Thomas has tabled a motion in the House of Lords calling on the Government to meet with representatives from Disability Rights UK and the Disability Benefits Consortium to discuss the need for changes to rules governing access to Motability cars wheelchairs, and scooters for disabled people.
Changes to the Personal Independence Payments rules and the reassessments have meant that thousands of disabled people have already lost eligibility for a Motability vehicle, with many thousands set to join them in the coming months.
The loss of Motability cars has had a significant impact on the ability of disabled people to live independent lives, including in some cases people no…
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Disabled activists have been barred from standing as job-share candidates in at least two constituencies in next month’s general election.
At least three serious attempts – two involving disabled people – have been made to persuade officials that two or more people should be allowed to stand together for election to represent a single parliamentary constituency.
But all three attempts have been rebuffed, two by the acting returning officers and one by the Electoral Commission.
Disabled activists believe that allowing job-sharing MPs would lead to an increase in the number of disabled people and women represented in parliament.
Both the Greens and the Liberal Democrats have endorsed the idea of allowing MPs to job-share, and the Lib Dems have included it in their election manifesto.
The Greens say it is still party policy to introduce job-sharing and that it is covered by its manifesto pledge to “work vigorously” towards ensuring all levels of government and public bodies are “representative of the diversity of the populations for whom they work”.
Legal advice from a leading human rights barrister, commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has suggested that the Electoral Commission could be breaching both the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act by refusing to provide guidance permitting job-share MPs.
In the Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency in north London, disabled activist Adam Lotun had hoped to stand with student Zion Zakari as a job-sharing independent candidate.
They approached the Electoral Commission, but Adrian Green, the commission’s regional manager, told Lotun in an email: “Our view is that the law does not allow two or more candidates to stand jointly for election as an MP.”
Green said that the Parliamentary Constituencies Act and the Representation of the People Act were both “written in such a way as to anticipate single candidates for elections to parliamentary constituencies”.
And he suggested that Lotun raise the issue with the Cabinet Office if he believed the law should change.
Despite the advice, Lotun and Zakari approached the Hackney North and Stoke Newington acting returning officer, but were told that they could not be nominated together.
Now they are taking legal advice and considering court action against the Electoral Commission.
Lotun said: “I was disappointed. It just shows that the system is flawed.
“The rules and regulations, if you apply common sense, would suggest there is no reason why people cannot stand on a job share basis at all.”
He said there was no need for new legislation, just fresh guidance from the Electoral Commission, taking account of what the Equality Act says on discrimination against disabled people and other equality groups.
Lotun said he wanted to job-share the role because he could not commit the necessary time, as a disabled father of a young family, to be a full-time MP.
He said there was significant support for job-sharing MPs within the Labour party, as well as the public positions already taken by the Greens and Liberal Democrats.
In Basingstoke, the disabled Green party activist Clare Phipps was hoping to stand with fellow party member Sarah Cope, but they were told their nomination was invalid.
The constituency’s acting returning officer, Karen Brimacombe, said: “One nomination paper containing two names was rejected as it wasn’t valid under the Representation of the People Act rules.
“As acting returning officer, I have no discretion over the application of these rules.”
But Phipps and Cope insist that there are no laws or rules preventing joint candidature.
Neither Phipps nor Cope would be able to serve as a full-time MP. Cope is the main carer for two young children, and Phipps has an impairment that prevents her working full-time.
Phipps, who job-shares a position on the Green party executive, said: “It’s time our government reflected the people it is representing. Allowing job-share MPs is just one way we can change politics for the better.”
Allowing job-share MPs has been Green party policy since 2012.
Phipps and Cope are also now seeking legal advice.
Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “These cases show that the issue of job-sharing for MPs will not just go away.
“Over 45 individuals and organisations supported our campaign letter in the Guardian in 2012.
“Since then, more people have supported the campaign and [Labour MP] John McDonnell has introduced a private members’ bill to get job-sharing for MPs introduced.
“We would urge all political parties in the general election to support job-sharing for MPs as a way of getting more disabled people and more carers into politics.
“The House of Commons is not representative of the electorate. That is why it sometimes makes really bad decisions.
“We need a Commons fit for the 21st century and enabling part-time MPs is one way of achieving that goal.”
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “Our view is that electoral law does not allow the nomination of two or more candidates for one constituency seat at a UK parliamentary election.”
She said that section 1(1) of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 refers to each constituency “returning a single member”.
She added: “Any changes in this area would require amendments to primary legislation. This would be a matter for government and, ultimately, parliament.
“We would suggest that any individual who wished to pursue further questions on policy or legislation in this area contact the Cabinet Office, which is the UK government department responsible for UK electoral law.”
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com
‘………….This is an Open Letter, written on behalf of Learning Disability Alliance England, and signed by just a few of the leading self-advocates, families and advocacy organisations who are part of LDA England. Please share this letter with journalists, the media or by using social media.
27th March 2015
We are writing to express our disappointment and dismay at the failure of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats to represent themselves at LDA England’s Citizen Jury event on 2nd April.
LDA England is the representative body for people with learning disabilities. It unites the representative bodies for people with learning disabilities, families and over 500 different charities, advocacy bodies and community organisations – the very organisations Government consults on policy. It speaks on behalf of millions of people and voters.
On 10th March 2015 Professor the Baroness Hollins and Gary Bourlet of People First England wrote on our behalf to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the leaders of the other main political parties in England.
The Labour Party, the Green Party and UKIP immediately found suitable representatives; for example the Labour Party representative is Kate Green MP, their disability spokesperson. However, as yet, we have still had no adequate response from the Conservative Party or the Liberal Democrats.
Both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats claim that they supportMencap’s Hear My Voice campaign – and that they take seriously the rights of people with learning disabilities.
However, their actions in this instance speak louder than words. In ignoring LDA England’s request it would seem both parties are unwilling to engage with the voices and votes of millions of people, families and professionals.
Vicki Raphael, National Valuing Families Forum
Kerry Martin, National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities.
Jayne Leeson, Changing Our Lives
Katie Clarke, Bringing Us Together
Oi Mei Li, National Family Carer Network
Cathy Wintersgill, Connect in the North
Rosemary Trustam, Community Living
Mark O’Farrell, Preston Learning Disability Forum
Steven Rose, Choice Support
Lucy Hurst Brown, Brandon Trust
Jo Clare, Three C’s Support
Sally Warren, Paradigm
Alicia Wood, Housing and Support Alliance
Simon Duffy, The Centre for Welfare Reform
Sarah Maguire, Choice Support
Kim Foo, Heritage Care
Campaign for a Fair Society
Don’t cut us out West Sussex………’
On seeing the DM headline I double checked the date to see if it was 1 April, as only a fool would now vote Lib Dem. They wrongly assume that only the rich have such assets. What about the people who have worked all their life on a modest income and instead of spending any surplus income on frivolities, spent it on items to enhance their home and themselves, such as, good quality furniture and fittings and good quality fashion accessories. Then in retirement they have all they need for a comfortable life together with a reasonable pension and their home is now mortgage free.
Then comes the Lib Dems and brings these retired persons into a wealth tax bracket, they forget, that they will not just be taxing the rich, but those who have invested for their retirement.
- Old-Age Pensions Act in 1908,
- the introduction of free school meals in 1909,
- the 1909 Labour Exchanges Act,
- the Development Act 1909, which heralded greater Government intervention in economic development,
- the National Insurance Act 1911 setting up a national insurance contribution for unemployment and health benefits from work.
- then in 1942 came the Beveridge Report
Beveridge was opposed to “means-tested” benefits. His proposal was for a flat rate contribution rate for everyone and a flat rate benefit for everyone. Means-testing was intended to play a tiny part because it created high marginal tax rates for the poor (the “poverty trap“).
One of the main sections of the Beveridge Report was the National Health Service Act of 1946, which created the NHS, a free at point of provision for health care for all UK residents,which was implemented in 1948.
Another was the expanding of National Insurance to provide for the costs related to the various benefits created by the enacting of the Beveridge Report.
The idea being that those persons in employment would pay contributions to the state, in the form of National Insurance contributions and Income Tax, by way of PAYE for employed persons and payments paid direct to HMRC for self employed persons.
When there is a high ratio of persons employed or self employed persons to persons unemployed, the money collected to pay for the benefits to all persons will be more than likely sufficient to meet all costs required. Where there is a high rate of unemployment, or the ratio of persons who would not normally be employed (children and retired) is considerably higher than those in employment, the costs may not be covered. Any shortfall in the costs would need to be either covered by government borrowing, the criteria for benefits be adjusted accordingly or taxation introduced into new areas.
This brings me back to the start of this article and the Lib Dems thought of introducing a Jewellery Tax.
But is there another option?
Instead of a percentage of any income paid to the government, in the form of National Insurance contributions and the various forms of taxation, why not all income be paid to the government. Then, in the form of an allowance, a proportion of this is then paid out to every legal resident of the country.
This would mean no one would need to apply for benefits, because everyone would be given their appropriate allowance. This means there would be no one who could be claiming any benefits to which they were not deemed to be entitled and so this would ensure there were no longer any, so called, ‘benefit scroungers’. It would also solve the situation regarding illegal immigrants, as no one would receive an allowance until they were legally registered as a UK resident. It would solve benefit fraud.
To administer this system every person, as soon as they are born would need to be registered, as would anyone coming to the UK to legally reside, they could then be issued with an Allowance Card, similar to the various plastic cards already around today, for use as credit, debit or other cards.
All persons deemed to be eligible for work would be allocated a job, in line with their abilities, so therefore no one would be without a form of employment, so the benefit ‘Job Seekers Allowance‘ would no longer be required. There would be some people who are deemed unable to work, due to them having some form of disability, here people with disabilities would be assessed, using health based criteria and be given a dispensation from the requirement to work. this would require their allowance to be increased accordingly to ensure their additional needs , due to their disability, could be met, so the various disability benefits would no longer be required.
A reason to live, yes or no?
I welcome the changes and will wait and see how they progress.
Over the few years of this government there have been things I agree with and some that I do not. I do believe that it is impossible for any government actions to be agreeable to all, even the supporters of that governments political party.
Those of you who wish to see a change of government, should first view the alternatives. Although we have many political parties the way in which the voting structure is at the moment will mean there is only a choice of 2 parties Labour or Conservative. We have all seen the mess the last Labour Government left the country in. The Liberal Democrats do not have the power base to form a government on their own. That is why they wish to have voting on a PR basis, which in effect would mean, in most cases, a coalition government. This is what we have at the moment, yet people are not happy and wish change. None of the other parties would be able to form a government on their own.
This means the only alternative which has not been tried in the last few years is a fully Conservative Government.