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Archive for December, 2011

A new survey of care provided by local councils, published today by Labour, reveals shocking increases and wide disparities in charges for services for vulnerable elderly and disabled people.

Councils are increasing charges for:

  • home care: the average hourly charge is now £13.49, a rise of 6% since 2009/10
  • meals on wheels: the average charge is now £3.44 per meal, a rise of 13%
  • transport: for example to day centres: the average charge for a journey is now £2.32, a rise of 33%

These increases mean the average yearly cost for an older or disabled person who pays for 10 hours of home care a week is now £7,015 a year.

Older or disabled people who also get meals on wheels every day now pay an average of £8,271 a year.

With transport charges to go to a day centre three times a week an older or disabled person now pays £8,633 per year.

There are huge differences in the price people pay for care, depending on where they live. This ranges from free home care in Tower Hamlets to care costing £20.34 per hour in Cheshire East. This means an older or disabled person in Cheshire East receiving 10 hours of care per week could be liable for charges up to £10,577 per year when they would receive free home care in Tower Hamlets.
Some councils limit the weekly costs people are required to pay, ranging from a cap of £105 per week in Hackney to £900 per week in Brighton and Hove.

Four out of ten Councils who had a cap in 2009/10 have increased it, and another four out of ten have abolished caps on charges altogether, leaving people to face all the costs of their care.

The survey also indicates that the number of vulnerable older and disabled people receiving services free of charge has dropped significantly, by more than 15% since 2009/10.

Liz Kendall MP, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, said:

“These increases in home care charges for older and disabled people are a stealth tax on the most vulnerable people in society.

"More people are having to pay more for vital services such as help getting up, washed and dressed, meals on wheels, and transport to day centres. These services are a lifeline for older and disabled people and are crucial in helping them live independently in their own homes.

"And the huge variations in the costs of care across the country mean elderly and disabled people face a post-code lottery, through no fault of their own.

“The Conservative-led Government is out of touch with the growing crisis in care.

"Their brutal cuts to funding for local council services for older people – £1.3 billion already this Parliament – are pushing up charges and placing an even greater burden on the people who most need help.

"David Cameron must act urgently to tackle the care crisis now. And he must engage in serious cross party talks about how we can secure a fair and sustainable way to fund social care in the future."

See Liz Kendall on BBC News talking about these findings.

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The Public Accounts Committee today published its report on HMRC and the way in which it’s dealing with tax disputes. It found that there is £25 billion outstanding in unresolved tax bills, mostly from large companies. The HMRC did not fully cooperate with the Public Accounts Committee and sought to keep details from Parliament and public scrutiny.

The Permanent Secretary of the Tax Department, David Hartnett, has come under severe criticism that he has “too cosy” a relationship with big business. He refused to apologise for the tax fiascos and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has failed to back him as previously reported by the Daily Mail.

Whilst small businesses and individuals are being relentlessly chased by HMRC, it is becoming apparent that a different more lenient approach is being taken with big businesses who have wined and dined David Hartnett.

David Cameron’s reaction, through his official spokesperson has been to deny all this. The PM simply doesn’t seem to care that there might be tax revenue due to the government which is the equivalent of £1000 for each person in the UK or 6p in income tax!

UKUncut who have longed campaigned to highlight this issue has launched legal action to recover tax from Goldman Sachs from money raised from public donations. You can donate here.

Listen to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge MP talk to the Today Programme on Radio4 about the report’s findings below on Audioboo.

“Systemic” problem with HMRC (mp3)

Also, below is today’s media reaction to these shocking revelations which mean that ordinary people are having to pay more!

BBC Business – MPs attack ‘cosy deals’ at HMRC

Channel4 News – HMRC accused of bending the rules for big firms

The Telegraph – Why double standards by HM Revenue and Customs mean you pay more

The Daily Mail – Big firms let off £25BILLION in taxes: As families are chased for every penny, corporate giants dodge their massive bills

The Sun – Firms’ £25bn tax let-offs

UPDATE

The Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves MP, has now written to George Osborne asking for a response to this report before Christmas.

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This article was published in Progress 24th September 2011 by Deputy Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Rory Palmer.

Rory talks about Leicester’s early experience with having a directly elected mayor and what other cities can learn from it.

Read the article, “Yes to directly elected mayors”.

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The Government has plunged the NHS into a leadership crisis on the brink of the toughest year in its history.

Labour today reveals how hundreds of senior NHS figures, many with years of experience and public service, have in recent days received letters demanding their immediate resignation.

Chairs and Directors of Primary Care Trusts across England have been given pro-forma resignation letters to return by 31 December – even though the Government is still months away from finding out whether Parliament has approved its planned re-organisation of the NHS.

Andrew Lansley’s shock move has caused anger and confusion across the NHS. It threatens to create a leadership vacuum at local level, with the NHS losing valuable people, grip and focus at a crucial time.

One experienced Chair has warned of a ‘dire threat’ to ‘long-held and cherished standards’ and ‘corporate memory’.

Read the response to this by Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary

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Soar Magazine has done an interview with Leicester West MP, Liz Kendall, you can read the full article here as Liz talks about what drives her in politics and her love for Leicester.

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Promoted by Graham Wheatley on behalf of the Leicester Labour Local Campaign Forum, both contactable at Leicester West Labour Party, 42 Narborough Road, Leicester, LE3 0BQ.

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