Generalities, Have you noticed that for the last 5 or 6 years there has been a new proposal of Government policy almost every day? Just think of the amount we have had since Brown took office, and how many have been rescinded or modified since. It takes civil servants to implement these statements, an increasing army of them. Take the running of two wars, how many clerks are beavering away, trying to update the equipment, keep the supply lines open, bring back the dead, feed clothe etc etc. , it’s endless. Take the Health Service, the Schools, the infrastructure, all constantly being tinkered with, and often to no advantage, with the inevitable changes in procedure, headed paper, even accommodation.
One aspect which should have been modified years ago, and I have been whingeing about it since I first started the blog, is the internal debt. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a ceiling on lending is essential. That when a person builds up a gross debt to a certain point, the door should be closed until the debt is reduced, and the ceiling should be fairly low, so the rest of us who are conservative in our spending are not picking up the tab. When a bank encourages an apprenticed, 16 year old, to have a card, there is something wrong.
Now For a Specific! I read that the government is proposing a scheme whereby they put money via the councils monthly, into the accounts of carers and OAPs over 75, to ‘shop around for their personal care package.’ – £520m over three years starting in April. I understand from something else I read, that some of the money is intended to pay for carers to have a holiday. This raises several questions in my mind. I find I can’t ‘shop around’ for specialists, like TY repair men, plumbers, and home-helps with references, so why is it easier to find Welfare helpers? Perhaps this phrase was an interpretation by the journalist, but he must have had a reason for saying it. It says this is going to be means tested, the money paid in regularly, and presumably some sort of check on fraud – more civil servants. There is a paucity of welfare helpers who really justify the term. I have heard so many complaints of paid Welfare helpers who only perform certain tasks, often those the person could do for him or herself. It is the heavy work, the climbing and the stooping which is most difficult or hazardous for old arthritic joints. The money is being given to the councils to manage, so this too will put a burden on our council tax, or some of the money will be diverted for that purpose. Either way it is a further expense for the tax payer.
I am a firm believer that carers of the seriously disabled absolutely need a respite, and those of us who are healthy and financially able, should pay for it for those who can’t. It is the bureaucracy involved in this new scheme that worries me and the supervision to prevent fraud. There are, allegedly, 5.7m carers in the UK not to mention the 4m 75+ OAPs, – together making up 17% of the population. There will be many deserving cases missing out. If an OAP requires a carer, or is so decrepit they qualify, how are they going to ‘shop around,’ as the welfare workers are thin on the ground too.
I don’t think the Government Spin Doctors, who are trying to be all things to all people. have a clue what caring and old age is about. Many of us OAPs move house when we become less able and this often means we have moved away from the friends we had, those who actually are still alive. We are no longer as mobile, we get operated on at intervals, we tire easily, and can’t stand in a queue at an airport any more, nor go for long walks, and shopping till we drop is considerably contracted. I can’t speak for others, but we, Soph and I have considered a weekend in a hotel, as a break, tried it and found the anticipation was greater than the realisation, as so much is after 75.
Like most of my kind, I am not complaining, on the contrary I believe we are very lucky, it is just that this scheme seems more like window dressing than a practical proposition, there are too many parameters to be considered – an ‘each on his merits’ approach, really does lead to bureaucracy, dissatisfaction through discrimination, and waste.