Posts Tagged ‘libdems’

Response from Paul Burstow re LibDem policies for carers

30 July 2014

Recently CarerWatch posted a response relating to a manifesto promise for carers from the LibDems.  You can read it here

We received wide spread support for the post, and also exchanged tweets with Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam. As a result we contacted Mr Burstow asking if he wished to respond more fully to our comments.  (Many carers are tied to the home and engaging online is their only way of engaging with politicians.)

You can read his reply below……..

Feel free to add comments/questions. We will be sending copies to Mr Burstow, along with politicians from other parties.  Any replies will be posted in the open again.

 

A few weeks ago Nick Clegg announced the first of a series of policies for carers.  The Carer’s Bonus, £250 paid annually, on top of the Carers Allowance, for the carer to use as they see fit.  The proposal sparked a lot of debate, and CarerWatch posted a strong critique of the plan.  I am grateful for the opportunity to respond.

Caring responsibilities can come at any time in a person’s life and can exact a heavy price in both health and wealth. About 6 in 10 of us will become carers at some point in our lives, and 45% of carers have given up work to care.

The bonus idea was developed by the Liberal Democrats Ageing Society Working Group, which I chair, as part of our Age Ready Britain policy paper.

The bonus would be paid annually to Carers to use as they see fit, for example as a contribution toward extra costs such as taking a break. To start with it would be set at £125, doubling to £250 no later than 2020. The Bonus is more like a direct payment to contribute to things like respite care. It is not intended to be an answer to all the financial challenges faced by Carers.

This would put extra money in Carers’ hands to make their own decisions about how it can best support them.  The Carer’s Bonus marks out our commitment to promoting the wellbeing of carers and is the first of a number of proposals aimed at better supporting carers that we spell out in our policy paper Age Ready Britain which will be published in September.

The £250 payment would be available to around a million people based on underlying entitlement to the benefit. So, for example, pensioners who are eligible for Carers allowance but because of overlapping benefit rules do not receive it would receive the Bonus.  It would start at £125 and increase year on year to £250 no later than 2020.

The proposal builds on measures we have taken in Government like investing £400mn in NHS funded respite breaks, or new rights for Carers in the Care Act and Children and Families Act, and rights to flexible working.

I agree with the comments about the earnings disregard and the withdrawal of the benefit when engaged in education and these are issues we address on Age Ready Britain.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Paul

* Paul Burstow is Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam.

 

 

 

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Three little words – ‘Tax Payers Money’

11 October 2011

Blog piece by Pat Onions

There is a word or three I loathe.

More than the Employment Support Allowance.

More than the Work Capability Assessment and probably more than the Personal Independent Payment.

‘Tax Payers Money.’

I have been listening to Ms Miller talking about the new PIP. She sounded quite nice and chatty. Of course they will continue to pay £40 million to those disabled. Good. She then used those words… from ‘Tax Payers Money.

It is a move to stir up the people of this country. She could just say the amount which will be paid. Why add those 3 words at the end?

Effect of course is to make me feel worthless and useless. The effect is to let the ordinary man or woman, who works and pays tax, where their deductions are going.  I too am ordinary but I can’t use the library, drive on the roads or play ping-pong at the leisure centre. That of course is totally different. It always is when it comes to those of us with a disability.

Ordinary men, and women, would have no idea if they weren’t reminded at every verse end. They would sit at home watching another reality show on their 40″ Plasma screen. They’re probably not wondering too much where all the tax they pay each month is being spent. It is the duty of politician, newspaper and television reporters to tell them. And they do. Constantly. All the time and endlessly.

Like many others I did work. I did pay my taxes and did pay my NI. I still pay taxes on everything I eat, drink, sit on or sleep in. I don’t think the air that I breathe comes ‘from Tax Payers Money’  but I wouldn’t put any money on it.

When you are poorly and hurting…say with an abscess and extreme toothache…. you don’t want some smart Alec telling you that your dentist isn’t funded from ‘Tax payers Money’ anymore. You don’t want to hear that you have to dig deep in your pocket for some painkillers. You want support and help. Oh dear…. perhaps involving the NHS as an example is not such a good idea.

I get reminded that I have languished for more than 10 years on benefits. Benefits paid from ‘Tax Payers Money’. I haven’t actually languished at all. I have a rare, irreversible, hereditary condition. Proper experts diagnosed me, not a nurse playing at being an ophthalmic consultant with years of training & experience. The consultant recognised my disability and knew I would not be able to work. Nothing in society or the work place has changed in all those years to enable me to work. So why oh why do Politicians believe it has?

They can beat me with sticks; tell me if I don’t work I lose my benefits. It makes not one jot of difference to my disability. It is unchanged and always will be.

By taking my ‘Tax Payers Money’ from me it will mean I don’t eat, clothe myself and lose the roof over my head. They can assess me; reassess me as many times as they decide. I have no eyes, and no matter how many assessments, those eyes will never grow back and see again. Somehow Politicians seem to think they have a magic power to make them work…after all ‘Work Pays.’

Pat Onions

Carer Watch response to White Paper Social Care

15 April 2010

Carer Watch acknowledges the White Paper on Social Care, “Building a National Care Service”, for the importance it places on vital issues that will affect our society as a whole. Whilst elements of the paper hold true, we believe the starting point to be incorrect. Any proposal suggested to date, if implemented, would not be sustainable long term, without the strong foundation that family carers provide. They are the base that any new National Care Service must build upon. Both the NHS and Social Services rely heavily upon families shouldering the main burden of care now, and will do even more so in the future.

The most glaringly obvious omission in the White Paper is the ……..  read in full  here


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