Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Should not charity begin at home?

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.

Just saying......................


Anonymous said...

It seems to me WfW that the problem we have in relation to caring for our young and old, is that those of us in the middle have to spend far too much of our resources on work.

I remember in the 1970's the predictions that due to the automation and mechanisation of the things that we need to look after ourselves, that work (i.e. for an employer) would be much less of an imposition, we would have to work for one, maybe two days per week to gather enough to finance the food, heat and shelter required to satisfy all of our basic needs, and we could spend our free time educating and exercising ourselves and our children, caring for our dependents (old or young).

What went wrong?

My view, is that we have been subjected to a corporate hijack, by private and public bureaucracies, a necessary requirement of the fascist state, which thrives on maintaining a slave class. The trouble is that we have gone along with it, like lambs to the slaughter, and just now, we are being told that we will have to work longer for less, and retire later….

Which brings us back to the original problem, who is going to look after our young and old dependencies, while we are out gathering 100% of our needs and then (mafiosi style) donating 75% to some other very greedy dependents, who tell us that they are better at looking after these same dependents than us?

This logic is utterly mind bending.

Anonymous said...

Further to my last observation WfW…

In these unmaterialised 1970's predictions, it was clear that "leisure time" would not exclude artistic or artisan enterprise (working for pleasure and profit) additional to our basic needs, particularly if we were single or without dependents.

john in cheshire said...

I don't want to give any aid to foreigners. However, if all the socialists wish to subsidise the lives of these people, then they should be able to do so from their earnings; they could be hypothecated (I think that is the correct term) at source, by a simple tick of a box and an amount entered in their PAYE form. The total would then amount to our foreign aid and the donors could feel some sense of self-satisfaction for being 'good people'. But I wouldn't be affected and therefore, couldn't care less.

cosmic said...

What I see in the Tories' determination to maintain foreign aid is some focus group inspired nonsense suggesting they fish for the Lib-Dem type vote. The fact that it makes most of their traditional supporters incandescent with rage adds to the effect. They expect that tribal loyalty will keep those people on board.

Badly misjudged I'd say.

I have all sorts of objections to this; it's been shown to be counter-productive; it's ridiculous to borrow money to give away; there are things at home the money should be spent on.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

r_w: Not much wrong with what you say and I do agree.

jic: I don't mind helping others, regardless of race or creed, however I do object when 'our own' are left wanting. As the adage goes "charity begins at home"

c: Would disagree slightly as I believe it is the political class attempting to 'look big' on the international stage.

cosmic said...


Posing as My Lords Bountiful on the international stage, with money they are borrowing for someone else.

Generally scratching the ridiculous itch they have, that Britain must have a place in the word, this time by wasting money on becoming an "Aid Superpower". Any fool can waste money.

Creating jobs in the aid industry and the tranzi community for themselves and fellow travellers.

Paying a Danegeld to prevent terrorism was one of the justifications, but they didn't call it a Danegeld.

Attempting to buy votes from immigrant communities and the bleeding heart fraternity.

Lubricating the way for markets for their pals.

All spending borrowed money to make problems worse, for narrow, self serving ends dressed up as a noble cause.

Absolutely not what the British government should be about.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

c: Agreed, which is why we need DD!