No houses, no lunches, no foreigners: Theresa May launches her vision for Britain

Only death and taxes

Theresa May’s shock announcement has been that her next government would make more people pay for their own social care at home. Under new means-testing rules, pensioners would start to pay for care at home as long as they had assets of more than £100,000, rather than the current £23,500, but the new calculation will include pensioners’ homes. This means that thousands more elderly people would be affected and have to pay for their own care. The policy would work by allowing people to run up the costs and pay for it out of their estate when they die. A “death tax”, as opponents have already labelled it. Continue reading

Workers of the world unite to save your pensions!

pensions protectionWorkers pensions across the world are facing similar challenges and we need to learn and act together.

I was at the 2015 Workers Capital Conference yesterday, meeting with union pension negotiators and trustees from across the world. There is great best practice that we need to learn from, but also recognise that funds are invested internationally. We are investing in each other’s communities and economies. Pension funds own half of the assets in the world and we should act collectively. Continue reading

The crisis in our homecare system is a source of national shame

Diane Abbott 2The UNISON trade union recently launched a new report which uses the voices of care workers – and those who rely on care – to clearly lay out the truth regarding the crisis that has engulfed the sector – a crisis that is not being addressed by the ideologically driven Tory government and its ruinous cuts agenda.

Entitled 15 Minutes of Shame: Stories from Britain’s Homecare Frontline UNISON describes the report as “a compilation of accounts that reveal how poverty pay, zero hour contracts, poor training and rushed visits is having a detrimental impact on vulnerable and elderly care users.” Continue reading

Extreme and dangerous Tory spending cuts

Disaster-looms-for-NHS_large-e1308062563878-2The Chancellor’s final budget was less than twenty hours old before Liberal Democrat Treasury ministers tried to disown it by presenting an alternative ‘yellow’ budget, before abusing parliamentary privilege to deliver it as a ministerial statement. However, no matter how many budgets the government presents none of them can hide from the fact that the Coalition has failed their own economic test to balance the books within a single parliament and the Tories and Lib Dems will go into the next election having borrowed £200 billion more than planned.

The Chancellor’s broken promise means that instead of delivering a budget announcing the end of austerity, he is now planning cuts to public services which are deeper than any in the last parliament. In the next three years the Tories have promised to cut public services at almost twice the level of the last three years. Continue reading

Osborne’s budget giveaway for pensioners: never have so many lambs been so ripe for fleecing

848429_sWe are now being presented with yet another almost unbelievable example of how ruthless the Tories are prepared to be in their own interest at the expense of the gullible and vulnerable. Already last year Osborne ruled that 320,000 savers a year with ‘defined contribution’ pensions would no longer have to buy an annuity – they could take the cash in their pension pot and run with it wherever they liked, whether buying a car, taking a world cruise, tapping into the buy-to-let market, or whatever feelgood bonanza took their fancy, and whatever the long-term consequences of running out of money. All for Osborne to cash in on the pensioners’ vote.

Now he’s proposing to go much further in today’s budget giveaway. He’s now intending that any of the existing 6 million pensioners who missed out on last year’s offer because they were already locked into annuity contracts should now have the opportunity to escape these agreements. The rush for the exit has already started, even though taking out and spending capital reserved for lifetime income could well disqualify such a person from free social care later. Continue reading