Huge numbers of people in Salford are caring for either a friend, a parent, or another member of their family. The latest count put the figure at around twenty thousand people.
And yet these people who give up their lives to care, sometimes 24/7, can lose out on benefits and jobs because of their unpaid caring.
Now, however, the Government have pledged to support a “groundbreaking” piece of legislation designed to help those people.
Equality Minister Harriet Harman has revealed that an Equality Bill, to be passed through Parliament in the next few months, will aim to eliminate discrimination against carers.
1 in 11 patients get hospital acquired infections as a result of New Labour health policies. Ministers were warned by the National Audit Office in 2005 that Labour are forcing hospitals to operate outside the safety levels set by the Health Protection Agency and this is causing the massive rise in MRSA and other hospital based infections. Labour health policies are performance driven rather than health based, and as pointed out by many senior doctors, consultants and others this frequently prevents treatment based on a patient’s needs. Are we letting the bean counters have to much say in how our hospitals are run?
This is the politics of Mad Hatter priorities,” said Alan Simpson, a Labour opponent of the war. “The Government is throwing money into an unwinnable war zone in Iraq at the same time as withholding money that creates a war zone in our hospitals.”
The total cost on the UK defence budget since the invasion exceeds £5.3bn but increases in defence spending have pushed up the cost by 10 per cent in the past four months. In November, the Ministry of Defence said it was expecting the cost of the Iraq military operations this financial year to be £860m – a fall of £98m on the previous year. But the latest spring estimates put the total at £1,002m, £142m more than expected four months earlier.
How did the words of the song go. What a Waste
The Liberal Democrats stand for freedom in a liberal society and for common sense policies for Britain’s future. Freedom underpins our commitment to investment in schools and hospitals – and our pledge to be honest about paying for that investment.
Investing in Education
The Liberal Democrats will make education our top priority – both in order that our economy may thrive and so that everyone can be given the best possible opportunities in life.
We will work to:
- Fund 1000 early years specialists to help give all young children a good start
- Reduce class sizes to 25 for all 5 to 11 year olds.
- Increase funding for books and equipment in schools.
- Fund 5,000 additional secondary teacher places.
- Abolish university tuition fees and introduce a student maintenance package.
- Give every adult an entitlement to publicly funded tuition.
- We will invest an extra £3 billion in Britain’s education. This will be paid for, if necessary, by putting an extra penny on the basic rate of income tax.
Building a better NHS
The Liberal Democrats will protect the NHS. We aim to give everyone a high quality health service which is free at the point of delivery, which provides value for money and which responds to patient needs.
We will work to:
- Recruit and train 2,500 extra doctors and 7,500 nurses on top of Labour’s plans
- Reward low-paid health professionals by an additional £1,000 on average per year
- Provide an extra 4,000 extra beds over five years on top of Labour’s plans
- Restore free eye and dental checks for all
- Pay for long-term personal care costs
- Cut prescription charges and tackle “postcode” lottery in prescribing medicines
- We will fund the above from revenue from a new top rate of tax of 50p on incomes over £100,000.
Liberal Democrats aim to prevent crime, as well as punishing criminals. We will support the efforts of local communities to combat crime, and we will give victims a greater sense of justice.
- Provide 6,000 extra police officers and 2,000 retained police officers
- Support crime-fighting schemes in every community
- Target the causes of crime
- Improve prisons to cut re-offending
- Promote the use of community sentences for lesser offenders
- Give victims and their families greater rights to be heard in court
A clean and safe environment
This generation’s freedom should not be achieved at the expense of the freedom of the next. Liberal Democrats recognise the strong links between the environment and health. Without a decent environment, it is impossible to provide high standards of health for all, let alone a healthy future and real choice for future generations.
We are committed to:
- Publishing a Green Budget assessment each year at Budget time
- Investing in a sustainable and integrated urban and rural public transport for Britain
- Shifting taxation to make polluters pay
- Introducing a carbon tax targeted on greenhouse gas emissions
- Aiming for 10% generation of UK energy by UK- based renewable sources by 2010
- Introducing a moratorium on the commercial growing of genetically modified crops
Pensions, wages and benefits
Liberal Democrats will provide decent pensions and benefits for all in need and take action against low pay.
- Boost pensioner incomes by £5 for all, by £10 for over 75s and by £15 for over 80s.
- Review the national minimum wage annually and make it available to all over 16
- Aim over time to reduce tax for the lowest paid to zero
- Scrap the Child Support agency and replace it with a Family Court
- £200 extra per year to families with children on income support for more than a year
- Introduce a Carer’s Benefit, which will allow all carers to claim benefit
Creating jobs and prosperity
Liberal Democrats believe that the main aim of government economic policy should be to promote stability and create the conditions for sustainable growth.
- Cut business rates on small businesses
- Strengthen the independence of the Bank of England
- Secure for British business the benefits of a stable economy
- Introduce a Citizens Tax Contract showing how tax is raised and how it is spent
- Guarantee decent standards for workers
- Promote a knowledge based economy
- Publish a costed programme: how much we will spend and how it will be paid for
Reforming Politics and the Constitution
Liberal Democrats believe that government should be the servant of the people and that all voices should be heard in the political process. Government agencies and quangos cannot succeed in the task of regeneration or health promotion without involving local people as equal partners. The Liberal democrats are committed to making sure this happens.
- Introduce Fair Votes for local and national elections
- Replace the House of Lords with a smaller directly elected Senate
- Establish Regional Assemblies for the English regions that want them
- Introduce tougher Freedom of Information legislation
- Bring decision-making closer to people
- Introduce votes at 16
- Cut the size and cost of central government
Safeguarding Civil Liberties
Liberal Democrats will uphold as absolutes the rights and liberties of all to live without discrimination, by ensuring that there are effective legal barriers against discrimination.
We are committed to:
- Protecting Privacy by opposing a system of national identity cards
- Protecting people fleeing from persecution, ensuring applications are dealt with fairly
- Passing an Equality Act to simplify and strengthen measures to tackle discrimination
- Separating the powers of the courts systems and law enforcement
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