The news today that elderly care reforms may be delayed until 2025, with Politics Home reporting the Government has admitted that parts of planned reforms to the elderly care system may not come into effect before 2025. Andrew Lansley also refused to rule out the possibility of a tax on pensioners to fund the rising costs of care. Andy Burnham hit out at the Government for the delay on reforms, saying the problem was “urgent” and “this is not good enough from the Health Secretary”. Andrew Dilnot, who chaired a review into elderly care, said this morning that such a delay would be "completely unacceptable". He told the BBC's Today programme the Government should act by Easter next year: "I see no official sign that there is any suggestion that a decision will be delayed beyond that, and any such delay would be a betrayal of peoples’ trust."
As with personal circumstances, in which faced with the choice of assisting one of your own family or a stranger, the natural inclination for most people would be that family takes precedence. There is of course the possibility that both choices can be met, however aid to a stranger would, by circumstances, be reduced. This raises the question whether that should not be the case where sections of our own population are in need, especially when money that would help meet that need is being sent abroad in overseas aid; and in some cases in direct financial assistance.
From the Department for International Development (DFID) we learn that in 2010/11 DFID provided bilateral assistance to 78 countries, of which 37 countries received direct financial aid . These 37 countries received a total of £2,271m in 2010/11 (of which £1,190m was direct financial aid). From the Mail we learn that detailed figures in the spending review reveal that the overall increase in the aid budget is even higher. Figures show that the UK spending on foreign aid - including the amount spent by departments other than DFID - will rise by 50 per cent, increasing from £8.4billion this year to £12.6billion in 2014. The £12.6billion figure is equal to £479 for every household in Britain. This is besides the £10billion per annum that the UK pays the European Union, that same European Union that only two months ago threatened legal action to force the UK to pay immigrants from within the EU the same benefits as British citizens - something the government claims could cost up to £2.5bn a year. And still the Coalition wishes to increase foreign aid until it matches 0.7% of GDP.
The three main parties (Con/Lab/Lib) are all 'signed up' to this policy of providing 0.7% of GDP and all three parties no doubt had that in their manifestos at the time of the last election. One does have to ask, however, how many of us actually read political manifestos - and how many actually know what GDP is and what it amounts to in £sd; and could actually work out what 0.7% of that figure is and how much cost per person it would involve. Whilst those parties may have mentioned overseas aid and the 0.7% figure, I do not recall any of them actually spelling this out in £sd. (Don't you just love 'transparent' representative democracy?) Of course, the growing bill for welfare benefits is not helped by our having open borders to those from EU member states and to whom we are forced to pay said benefits.
It is indeed obscene that other countries receive such large amounts of aid - India, one of the recipients, being one of the 'booming' economies - yet at home our own people (and not just the elderly) suffer shortages.