Saturday, 27 July 2013

There's none so blind as them who don't want to see

It started with the news of the Royal College of Surgeons damning report into the University of Hospital Wales, under the control of the Welsh Labour Government. Patients dying on waiting lists, children given hearing aids because no surgeons are available to fit grommets, and grid locked A&E. It reminded me of the time when, despite Tony Blair's promises, we queued round the block to get a dentist, couldn't get a GP appointment more then 48 hours in advance and patients played second fiddle to the almighty targets. It was only when Labour MP, Anne Clwyd compared UHW to Mid Staffs that I tweeted ...

 "If you want to see what the NHS would've been like if still under control then look at NHS Wales now"

The problem with Mid Staffs and other NHS Trusts now under investigation is that whenever a conscientious member of staff wanted to speak up on poor standards they were told to shut up. When a staff member left the NHS because they just could no longer see suffering, they were told to leave and shut up. If anyone dared criticise the NHS in any way, they were told to shut up. I dared to speculate how a Labour Government would be managing the NHS in England had it won the last General Election and Andy Burnham told me to shut up. Old habits die hard.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Conservative Party Policy Should Be To Increase State Benefits ... Massively

Leigh Conservatives InTouch, Spring 2013
My latest leaflet exposed an astonishing waste of public money. Wigan Council spent over £600,000 on building and then demolishing a car park which before being built we all knew would not be used. Pounding the streets of Leigh and talking to people about my scoop I was even more astonished by some of the responses. Most, of course, were horrified. Some couldn't care less. When explaining on the doorstep the sheer waste of Council Taxpayers money the brazen response of "I don't pay Council Tax, why should I care"  took me aback. In a way, this person was right. He got his Council Tax paid for him with a 100% reduction. 

Since the replacement of Council Tax Benefit with the Council Tax Support more people who never paid before are now paying at least something. In the case of Wigan Borough this is 20% unless you are a pensioner or have children under 5. For those who've never paid and are now having to pay something I sense a change of mood and attitude to the way the Council raises and then spends our money. For those still not paying any Council Tax the 'couldn't care less mood' persists. Part of the answer comes with Universal Credit. Ironically, Wigan Council is one of those chosen to pioneer the Universal Credit but, sadly, this does not include Leigh. But Universal Credit does not go nearly far enough. It has to include Council Tax. The principles behind Universal Credit are undermined by leaving Council Tax off the list. ALL benefits must be paid in cash and all taxes payable in full by all. Only then will ALL residents of Leigh actually care that their Council has wasted £2/3 million on a useless project.