/ Theresa May

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Rob Exile Ward on 18 May 2017
... seems to be using the prospect of an overwhelming victory to push through some pretty unpopular - but probably justified - changes.

Social care, the pension triple lock and means testing winter fuel payments, to name but 3. She must be so sure of her victory that she can push against her natural allies.

On the first two, I happen to agree with her. The third I'm not so sure about.
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Deadeye - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I suppose the problem is the cost of means-testing.
Certainly the current arrangement throws up nonsense: my parent-in-law both died over the last year. One in September - yet still qualified for winter fuel payment and we were unable to stop it. One in March - but had been in a care home fully funded by the state for 2 years. So the house was empty - but still qualified. When we sold it, he STILL qualified.

balmybaldwin - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

The third is the complete no brainer.... are you aware winter fuel payments apply to rich folk retired on the coast of Spain?

I know means testing is seen as causing people to avoid being tested and go without, so it could be done better - perhaps if your council tax band is above a certain level you don't get it
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timjones - on 18 May 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> The third is the complete no brainer.... are you aware winter fuel payments apply to rich folk retired on the coast of Spain? I know means testing is seen as causing people to avoid being tested and go without, so it could be done better - perhaps if your council tax band is above a certain level you don't get it

I can't see that being a logical or fair approach.

The person with a good income living in a small well insulater flat in town would get it whilst those who may well be less well off but live in an older rural dwelling would be less likely to receive a payment that they have a greater need for.

The idea of payments based on real needs has merit, but it only works if there is a cost effective way of directing the money to the right people.

tony on 18 May 2017
In reply to timjones:

> The idea of payments based on real needs has merit, but it only works if there is a cost effective way of directing the money to the right people.

And of course, the more complex the means-testing, the more expensive it gets and the less the overall savings are. I thought when the LibDems suggested means-testing winter fuel payments it was calculated that the costs were pretty much equal to the savings. It's not impossible I'm wrong about that, but I'd be interested to know if the manifesto calculates the net benefit.

muppetfilter - on 18 May 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Remember this is the party whos assessment criteria is directly linked to thousands of deaths of the terminaly ill, disabled and incapacitated and lots of folks eating out of food banks just to survive ....
How well do you think they will do with this one ?
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Moley on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Regards the winter fuel payments - we receive them and very welcome they are too, gratefully accepted from a most generous state.

Should we receive them and are we too hard up to afford to heat ourselves - No.

We can afford to pay our fuel bills and I have 3 years supply of firewood (our primary heat source) in sheds and plenty more trees to cut. The money should go to people who are needy and not to people like us and I'm a Tory saying that.

stevieb - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think the better way to reduce benefits to wealthy pensioners is to reduce national insurance and increase basic rate income tax by the same amount. A 1% change would cost a pensioner on £20000 about £100 per year.
I don't know all the ins and outs of this, but this should have no impact on people in employment, but would increase the tax take from wealthier pensioners and investors.
This avoids the administration costs of means testing for winter fuel payments, and maintains the 'contract' between the state and pensioners. Whenever benefits become means tested, they tend to become less supported by society.
john arran - on 18 May 2017
In reply to stevieb:

> I think the better way to reduce benefits to wealthy pensioners is to reduce national insurance and increase basic rate income tax by the same amount.

Ah, but NI is the tax that isn't called a tax, which explains successive governments putting it up while simultaneously pretending to keep taxes low. Your plan would require politicians to be honest!

> Whenever benefits become means tested, they tend to become less supported by society.

Largely due to stigmatisation of the less fortunate, which became socially acceptable under Thatcher and has been perpetuated by no end of awful print and tv media ever since.

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stevieb - on 18 May 2017
In reply to john arran:

Yes, I'm aware that NI is a bit of a stealth tax, which as you say, makes this politically unlikely. But it still seems a better way to implement the planned change.

The means tested benefits issue is partly about stigmatisation, but it's also reflecting basic human nature - if everyone pays in and everyone takes out, people are happier. If you ask people to pay for a benefit that they never receive, they are more reluctant. There's an argument that this makes means testing a good first step for taking away benefits if that is your aim.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Moley:

> Regards the winter fuel payments - we receive them and very welcome they are too, gratefully accepted from a most generous state.Should we receive them and are we too hard up to afford to heat ourselves - No. We can afford to pay our fuel bills and I have 3 years supply of firewood (our primary heat source) in sheds and plenty more trees to cut. The money should go to people who are needy and not to people like us and I'm a Tory saying that.

The money does go to people who need it. If getting it to them means some people who don't need it get it as well then isn't that better than the more expensive alternative.
Seems to me that they'll expect everyone to fill out forms to qualify and the most vulnerable and frail people and those with the least support will be the ones least likely to get it.
neilh - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I would like to see the costs of the winter fuel payment and the actual savings produced by not paying it.

I had read somewhere that only about 10% of pensioners have an annual income of more than £20,000. So the saving for means testing the benefit must be marginal.

Personally I think its not beyond the system to design something with the power companies so that they identify the struggling pensioners and step in to help.Maybe that is too radical.

I also agree with Mays proposals on social care and triple lock.
neilh - on 18 May 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Those people are probably in care homes any way and will therefore not need the payment...
Coel Hellier - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

We shouldn't have winter fuel payments at all, since the government should not micro-manage people's budgets -- they should simply set the pension at an appropriate amount and let people budget as they see fit.

The admin saving of not having an extra "winter fuel" payment, and then not having to means test it, must be significant.
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Moley on 18 May 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I don't mind who or why people get it, just saying we receive the payment but don't need it.
Though our income (from pensions and private savings) is nowhere near £20k or even in the tax bracket - so I guess we would qualify whatever. When my OAP allowance kicks in next year we still won't be there.
Rob Exile Ward on 18 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think the argument was that it wasn't included in benefits so the govt of the day wasn't faced with headlines about pensioners dying of cold because their benefits had been reduced pro rata.

I know Mum was very happy to receive it but she didn't need it really.
sg - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> ... seems to be using the prospect of an overwhelming victory to push through some pretty unpopular - but probably justified - changes.Social care, the pension triple lock and means testing winter fuel payments, to name but 3. She must be so sure of her victory that she can push against her natural allies.

or, alternatively, she's making a blatant bid for the centre ground to capture as many of those 'wavering former labour brexit voters' as possible. by and large, she's made a thoughtful selection from a range of options laid out in recent labour prospectuses and thrown in a couple of extras just to personalise it. maybe the overton window is shifting left after all but it'll be a while before I'm convinced!

I dread the outcome of the election, the fallout and brexit and I feel a bit sick when I see how easily she's playing a large chunk of the moral majority but I have to admit, in the last 10+ months she's had a blinder.

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john arran - on 18 May 2017
In reply to sg:

> I have to admit, in the last 10+ months she's had a blinder.

But then again she's playing against a non-league team all of the best players of which have been transferred or are on the bench!
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balmybaldwin - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

She seems to be "buying off" the press
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Yanis Nayu - on 18 May 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

She'll do what Dacre f*cking well tells her.
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Theresa May - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I'm humbled that you've started a thread about me.

Now that there is no commitment in my latest manifesto about not raising National Insurance or Income Tax, I must get Philip to dust down that recent NI proposal. A nice easy one to start with on June the 9th.
1
FactorXXX - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Theresa May:

Hi Theresa, I know you like your shoes and boots, so is there any chance that you can send me a photo of yourself in thigh length spike heeled leather boots.
If you do, I will definitely vote for you.
Thanks.
Theresa May - on 18 May 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

My dear Mr Factor,
I'm awfully flattered by your interest, but this falls under my Phil's remit, it's boys work, you know.
You may contact him personally at phil@no10.downingst.gov

I look forward to receiving your vote in June.
Big Ger - on 18 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> We shouldn't have winter fuel payments at all, since the government should not micro-manage people's budgets -- they should simply set the pension at an appropriate amount and let people budget as they see fit.

But then the Guardian woudl be full of ; "Poor Mable has to chose between feeding her cats and putting a lump of coal on the fire" stories...

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 May 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Those people are probably in care homes any way and will therefore not need the payment...

My mother's in a care home she needs every penny she can get.
cragtaff - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

A lot of people seem to miss the point about the unfairness of funding for social care. (When is a bath social care and when is it a health bath is a different discussion too!). But there may be two people in identical rooms receiving identical care in the same care home. They both spent their lives earning exactly the same. One saved carefully, the other spent everything without a care.

The one who was careful will now be paying for his/her care whilst the other gets it free.

How can that be fair?
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DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

> A lot of people seem to miss the point about the unfairness of funding for social care. (When is a bath social care and when is it a health bath is a different discussion too!). But there may be two people in identical rooms receiving identical care in the same care home. They both spent their lives earning exactly the same. One saved carefully, the other spent everything without a care.The one who was careful will now be paying for his/her care whilst the other gets it free.How can that be fair?

...or. Somebody very wealthy due to lucky circumstance is paying for their care (Until they can no longer afford to and then it will be paid for) Where as the person in the next room, who was the victim of crime or ill health and therefor has no money, is looked after.
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neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I have 2 - Mum and Dad - in care homes.

I have not got a clue what the answer is.But I do know the electorate is not willing to face upto its responsibilities either to pay alot more tax or to use their homes to finance care.
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stevieb - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

What's your preference? Theresa is proposing a system where those who can afford care pay for it, and those who can't afford it can still get care.
Do you want
a) only those who can afford it get care
b) higher taxes during your working life, and everyone's care is paid for?
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brianjcooper on 19 May 2017
In reply to stevieb:

> What's your preference? Theresa is proposing a system where those who can afford care pay for it, and those who can't afford it can still get care. Do you wanta) only those who can afford it get careb) higher taxes during your working life, and everyone's care is paid for?

I paid higher income tax which I happen to agree with as part of social care. But having to use your house to pay as well sounds like taxation twice.
cragtaff - on 19 May 2017
In reply to stevieb:

This is a massive problem for a country with an ageing population and will need to be tackled in a fair and just way, I am happy to pay more tax (which the better off do anyway) and for everybody to be treated the same if we have to. My argument isn't about who can and cannot afford it, its the unfairness of making those who have saved pay and those who spent it all (having earned the same in the first place) getting it free. That is what is unjust, it penalises those who have been cautious and careful and blesses those who threw all caution to the wind.
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neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to brianjcooper:

Having that asset gives you a choice if you have to go into care. It gives you a choice about what you do and where you go.

Believe me - you want that choice- you do not want the State to control it.

Anyway its something like £400 billion in housing assets that will be passed from generation to generation over the next few years.

Upto know its about the best of the worst system.
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neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

Those who have been cautious will get choice. Those who have not will get not so good care.
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cragtaff - on 19 May 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I am perfectly happy that we help those who have had the misfortune of poor health and circumstances that left them in poverty, I believe that a caring society should help them and that health care and essential social care should be free at the point of receipt.

The case situation I quoted was where individuals had enjoyed a life of identical health and wealth, but one chose to spend it whilst the other saved.

The saver is penalised and the other gets the same care for free. That cannot be fair and just. Either everybody pays or nobody pays. (Unless one chooses to). Those in the wealthier bracket pay more tax anyway.
cragtaff - on 19 May 2017
In reply to neilh:

RUBBISH!!!! Care homes do not offer First or second class care, in any single care home the care and services provided are the same for everybody.
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neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:
You clearly have no experience of care homes and do not understand the differences in options available from care home to care home.

if you did you would understand.

Never mind the difference in cost betwee residential, nursing, dementia and dementia nursing which can all happen in the same home.
Post edited at 16:01
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stevieb - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:
There will always be unfairness in any system for 65 million people. Some people will have wasted their money, many people will have wasted their talent.
But the general problem is life expectancy is now over 80, average working life is probably less than 40, and We expect a level of services far beyond what our tax can afford, but won't vote for a high tax party.
We either need higher taxes or higher mandatory pension saving. These have been avoided for 30+ years, but are being pushed a bit more recently.

Coel Hellier - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

> But there may be two people in identical rooms receiving identical care in the same care home. They both spent their lives earning exactly the same. One saved carefully, the other spent everything without a care. How can that be fair?

Let's consider that it will make pretty little difference to *them*. They are likely beyond having alternative ways of spending the money.

Thus, whether the funding comes from their house/estate, and they pass little on to their kids, or whether it is paid for by the state, and they pass on a house or nice legacy to the kids, makes not much difference to them.

But it does make a big difference to the kids. So the "fairness" you're asking about is whether it is fairer that the state should pay, so that those with parents who have saved should benefit from the inheritance.

But which family you're born into is a lottery. some will be born into families that can leave an expensive house for the kids to inherit, and some can expect to inherit very little whatever.

So really, this whole debate is really about whether middle-class, middle-aged people who may be pretty well off can look forward to a substantial inheritance, rather than risk it being swallowed up by care-home fees.

And should we raise taxes to ensure that such people do get their inheritance?

Well, as someone who could very well benefit from such an inheritance, I'd say no -- I just can't see that ensuring that middle-class, middle-aged people get a substantial inheritance is a priority for government spending.

Sorry everyone, I think that elderly people being expected to sell their homes to fund care, if needed, is the right policy.
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GrahamD - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Sorry everyone, I think that elderly people being expected to sell their homes to fund care, if needed, is the right policy.

That assumes that its only the person going into care that is living in the house. If there is a remaining spouse and children its a bit lessobvious. Does one person going into care mean the rest of the family have to be homeless ?
Mike Highbury - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Sorry everyone, I think that elderly people being expected to sell their homes to fund care, if needed, is the right policy.

I knew that one day you would say something that I agreed with.


brianjcooper on 19 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
>I think that elderly people being expected to sell their homes to fund care, if needed, is the right policy.

Beginning to wish I'd pissed some of it up the wall like lots of others did in their youth and not scratted for years
Post edited at 17:34
john arran - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Why would the same principle not be extended to health care in general, rather than just to health conditions that require home support? That's a very slippery road towards NHS privatisation but one which I can well see being tentatively followed in the coming parliament or two.

Also, nobody seems to have pointed out the fact that May's change effectively means that richer people would actually be paying relatively less for social care than at present. This is because almost all of those people needing social care who have been persuaded to become homeowners in recent decades (i.e. what used to be called the working and lower middle classes), will end up paying for much/most of it at actual cost, whereas if it were funded through general taxation the costs would be borne more heavily by higher-rate taxpayers.

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toad - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Regrettably the very rich will have already transferred their money into some sort of trust structure to ensure very little of their estate goes towards paying for anyones care
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

She also seems determined to control what people can see on the internet to the level of the Chinese. She's in the pocket of the Tory tabloids who hate the fact that internet sites in other countries can get away with stuff that they can't.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/theresa-may-internet-conservatives-gov...
cragtaff - on 19 May 2017
In reply to neilh:

On the contrary, both my parents ended their lives in care homes in recent years. My father was a very working class man who never smoked, drank or owned a motor car, he saved because he came from a generation and poor background that made it important. He had to sell his home and pay £42,000 a year for his care. Most of the other occupants, receiving identical care in identical rooms etc were funded by the local council who paid the home less than half what they charged my father. Many of them would have enjoyed careers that paid a hell of a lot more than my father's, but who spent their money during their lifetimes.


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neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

You will then know that what may is proposing us reasonable as it gave your parents choice about which home.

You will also understand that if you want to select a home that is above the state benefit that family and friend can top it up .

I have no issue at all with Maya proposal. This from somebody where care is costing my parents £100k a year funded through their house and zero will pass onto me and my siblings
neilh - on 19 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Agreed. It's a middle class issue.
Rob Exile Ward on 19 May 2017
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Snap!

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