Friday, 26 May 2017

The dementia tax raises questions about Conservative fitness for government

I was originally going to publish this on Tuesday but due to the awful terrorist attack in Manchester I delayed as all candidates have been avoiding campaigning.  However I believe this issue is so vital I wanted to publish is now that campaigning has restarted.

When the dementia tax was first launched my immediate reaction was disbelief.  It seemed that whoever was in charge of the national Conservative policy on social care didn't understand the crisis at all let alone have a solution. 

It now appears that this person is Theresa May, who is still hastily revising her own policy.
In some ways this is understandable as it is just such a terrible policy.   We need strong leadership in these times, but a truly strong leader listens and involves people in working together on tackling the big issues.

There is a good reason the funding part of it has been dubbed the dementia tax - the first problem is one of utter unfairness:  it creates massive differences in outcome depending on which disease of old age you get, or indeed if you gain a disability before or after you have acquired assets.  

However, it will also create a further black hole in council finances due to increases in deferred payments and it reduce the incentive people have to remain in their own homes when they gain a disease like Alzheimer's - which we all know is better for people at least in the early stages of dementia.

Even more seriously this back of the envelope approach breaches years of work on a cross party basis to find a grown up solution to this complex issue - one we know our society will need to tackle and one that doesn't have a simple solution.  Organisations like the Local Government Association, the Kings Fund and indeed parts of the civil service are looking at this issue carefully and thoughtfully, so it's appalling to have this ridden roughshod over by the government.

Everyone from the Economics Editor of the Financial Times, to Andrew Dilnot, author of the influential Dilnot report, to the Labour party has condemned the Conservative policy as unworkable, costly and unfair.
It is therefore no surprise therefore that the Conservatives are hastily shuffling round u-turning on a manifesto commitment before the election has even happened.

What is a surprise is that it even made into the manifesto in the first place.  It is yet another example of a Conservative party that is not only out of touch but out of control.  

If we can't trust them on something as important as treating our elderly and disabled citizens with respect, what can we trust them on?

If they are not competent enough to understand the consequences of their own policies are they really competent enough to run the country?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Candidate in Wantage

On 8 June we face a huge choice.  Our country is at a crucial moment and I believe that we need a strong voices in parliament.  

This is my message to residents:

"If I was elected in Wantage I would put you first.

If you elect me I promise to stand up for everyone in Wantage, Didcot and the surrounding areas. 
I am a small business owner and accountant, and I believe that we must make sure that Brexit doesn't put good jobs in our area, including the key scientific research teams locally, at risk. 
A failure to get a deal on Brexit would be the worst possible outcome.  We must make sure that the Brexit negotiations focus on keeping the benefits that we gain from the single market.  I would support a deal that would safeguard local jobs.  I would also vote to protect the rights of EU nationals – stabilising a key part of our workforce locally, and to provide security to our neighbors, families and friends.
I am the Councillor in Reading responsible for adult social care and serving on the Local Government Association's national board I have seen how our NHS and social care have been pushed into a state of emergency.  This must change.  I know that real investment and joining up care from hospital to home is needed, and I’ve worked on making this happen both in our area and nationally – but we need national action.
I believe that a sustainable future means working together and investing in ways that ensure we all benefit.  I serve as a volunteer director of a community owned renewable energy cooperative which last year installed solar panels on 10 community buildings, while using funds generated to fund community projects.
It would be a huge honour to represent you
Please give me your vote on June 8th.



NOTE that this blog isn't updated very often - I am far more active on facebook and twitter