All posts by ukipstocksbr

UKIP will support carers

Millions give up work, or work reduced hours, to care for elderly or disabled relatives. In doing so, they make a huge contribution to society, although often at great personal and financial cost.

We will:

• Increase Carers’ Allowance from £62.10 per week to match the higher level of Job Seekers Allowance, currently £73.10 per week, an extra £572 per year

• Improve carers’ access to support by sharing information on benefit and social care entitlements and support groups across all public services.

Disability Benefits

DISABILITY BENEFITS

UKIP is fully committed to protecting the rights of disabled people, as set out in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We wholly endorse the right of the disabled to access inhome, residential and community support services and we support their inclusion in our communities. We also recognise that there will always be disabled people who are unable to work and we are committed to supporting them through a fair and fit-for-purpose welfare system.

We will end unfair ATOS-style Work Capability Assessments and return assessments to GPs or appropriate specialist consultants, who have full access to patients’ medical records and are likely to know the patient. We believe this makes them the best person to undertake assessments and we will ensure they are adequately funded and resourced to take on this task.

We will also:

• Require GPs/specialists to notify the Department for Work and Pensions when they believe a patient is well enough to return to work, by issuing a ‘fit note’

• Remove ‘tick-box’ and quota arrangements from sickness and disability assessments, thereby streamlining and speeding up the assessment processes and continually respecting claimants throughout the process

Housing Benefits

HOUSING BENEFITS

The ‘bedroom tax’ is clearly unfair and is not working. Changes to the way housing benefit is paid are leading some tenants to fall into debt. The Conservative threat to withdraw Housing Benefit from the under-25s may cause even more suffering.

UKIP will:

• Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’

• Continue to pay Housing Benefit to young people under the age of 25

• Give tenants the right to request Housing Benefit is paid direct to their landlords, whatever benefit scheme they are on.

UKIP and Pensions

FLEXIBLE STATE PENSION AGE

When you have looked forward to retirement, shortnotice changes to the state pension age can wreck long-term plans. UKIP will give pensioners some choice over the age at which they choose to retire.

We will introduce a flexible state pension window, which will widen over time, so even when the state pension age increases to 69, pensioners will still be able to take a slightly lower weekly state pension from the age of 65.

Pensioners will know how much less they will be paid at the time they make their decision. At the moment, you can delay taking your state pension in return for a slightly higher amount, so UKIP’s proposal merely extends the option in the other direction. This proposal will be cost-neutral to the state over time. A flexible state pension window already works well in other countries, notably Italy, Norway, Sweden and Finland, so there is no reason why it will not work in the UK. Raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020 and to 67 by 2028 is hugely unpopular. It has been especially tough for women, who until 2010 could retire at 60. Also, millions of people who can now withdraw unlimited amounts from their personal pension pot may not be well-informed enough to make the best onward investments, or avoid falling victim to scams.

PERSONAL PENSION ADVICE

With greater freedom over personal pensions comes individual responsibility for retirement finance planning. Historically, people have had limited options of when to draw down funds from their personal plans. Most were forced to take out an annuity, paid out evenly, over the course of their retirement. Pensioners will now be making complex decisions about when and how much to take from their pension pots and, before doing so, they need expert advice to make sound, well-informed choices.

All pensioners get from the current government is 45 minutes of advice provided by the Pensions Advisory Service or Citizens Advice Bureau. This is completely inadequate when potentially lifechanging decisions are at stake. UKIP will fund a higher standard of independent advice available to all pensioners.

We will double the budget for guidance in 2015/16 from £30 million to £60 million, and treble the 2016/17 budget from £10 million to £30 million. In consultation with bodies such as the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Personal Finance Society, we will develop a pensions advice and seminar programme that will help protect pensioners’ best interests and savings.

ANTI-SCAMMING RULES

A further concern is that pensioners with limited financial experience may become the victims of mis-selling when they cash in their pension pots and have access to potentially large sums of money.  To prevent mis-selling, UKIP will make it a criminal offence to cold call someone in respect of their pension arrangements. This will not affect regulated advisors or pension schemes where there is already an existing relationship with a client. Rogue, unregulated operators must not be allowed to take advantage of pensioners while lining their own pockets.

WAR WIDOWS’ PENSIONS

On 8th November 2014, the Government announced that war widows and widowers would receive a war widows’ pension for life, even after remarriage, with effect from April 2015. However, this change was not retrospective and is therefore manifestly unfair. We will give all war widows and widowers a war pension, regardless of when they may have remarried.

Caring for the vulnerable

According to Age UK, 900,000 older people between the ages of 65 and 89 have social care needs that are not met. Residential care, nursing care, home care, day care and equipment budgets have been cut. Meals on Wheels services have been scrapped in some areas, or frozen ready-meals have replaced freshly cooked hot food.

These cuts impact on the NHS: one million hospital bed days are lost every year when patients cannot be discharged because there is no after-care available for them. Operations are cancelled for the same reason.

How we look after our older people and others who are vulnerable in society because of ill health is a mark of how civilised we are as a society. It is scandalous that the current care system is failing those who most need our help. We believe putting back the investment that was taken away by the current government is more than expedient: it is our duty.

The £1.2 billion UKIP will invest every year by the end of the next parliament will fund social care directly and ease the path through a change we want to make to the way the current system is financed.

INTEGRATING HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

While local authorities manage social care, the NHS manages health. This makes for a complex, inefficient and fragmented approach. While attempts to integrate the two, while keeping funding and responsibilities separate, have been commendable, the common sense, long-term solution is simply to fully integrate health and social care. UKIP will bring health and social care together, under the control of the NHS.

FUNDING OLDER PEOPLE’S CARE

In 2010, the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, was tasked by Government with reviewing the funding system for care and support in England. It concluded that an individual’s contribution to social care costs should be capped at £35,000.

We agree in principle: easing the burden on the growing numbers of families who face ever-increasing elderly care costs is clearly desirable, if currently unaffordable.

We propose a possible future solution: the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund from any tax revenue received from shale oil and gas exploration, with investment returns ringfenced to fully implement the Commission’s recommendations.

The viability of this proposal clearly depends on several unknowns, not least getting the go-ahead for shale exploration and unpredictable market forces, but we feel it is important to state this policy as an intention. Should fracking in the UK prove to be possible and profitable, we want to see the nation’s income from it spent on looking after older people. Establishing a Sovereign Wealth Fund from the tax profits of fracking, and ring-fencing the income it generates for a social care fund, will potentially release older people from the distress of having to sell their homes to pay for care and give them and their families peace of mind.

IMPROVING STANDARDS IN CARE

UKIP believes the elderly and vulnerable must be treated with compassion and dignity. We will:

• Introduce a legally-binding ‘Dignity Code’ to improve standards of professional care

• Pledge to protect services such as day care, home care and Meals on Wheels

• Abolish the practice of arranging home care visits in fifteen-minute windows

• Abolish the annual assessment process for continuing healthcare funding in respect of those suffering from degenerative, terminal illnesses

• Keep free bus passes, winter fuel allowances, free TV licenses for the over 75s and free prescriptions and eye tests for the over-60s, without means testing. We will also fund a co-ordinating service for older people in every county, combining resources from across the NHS, social services, community agents and the voluntary sector. No vulnerable person should feel isolated or alone and this service will be proactive in identifying and assisting those suffering from loneliness.

A BETTER DEAL FOR HOME CARE WORKERS

Good home care starts with good home care workers, who provide a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Theirs is a difficult enough job to do at the best of times and long hours and low pay make an already challenging role even more onerous. We cannot expect workers to give the best care if they themselves are not being cared for. This is a serious issue UKIP will tackle head-on.

We will not allow the NHS or third parties under contract to employ home care workers on zero hour contracts of any kind. Neither will we allow them to end up being paid less than the minimum wage because they are expected to travel between appointments in ‘their own time.’ We will insist they are paid for the entire time they are on duty. We believe that as Britain’s largest employer, the NHS should set an example.

Monitoring our healthcare

EFFECTIVE AND POWERFUL HEALTHCARE MONITORING

We think NHS managers should be subject to disciplinary oversight in the same way as doctors and nurses who are regulated by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. We will introduce a ‘Licence to Manage’ as a statutory requirement to prevent incompetent, negligent or bullying managers being moved sideways or re-employed by the NHS as external consultants. We will also abolish Monitor and the Care Quality Commission and place their inspectorate functions into the hands of county health boards made up of health and social care professionals elected locally by their peers. County health boards will have the power to inspect health services, conduct snap inspections and take evidence from whistleblowers. They will be charged with a statutory duty to investigate concerns flagged up by their local Healthwatch or local authority Health Scrutiny panels, so local democratic control and accountability is brought to healthcare decisions directly affecting our local communities.

UKIP say no to privatising the NHS

ENDING LABOUR’S PFI SCANDAL

When short-sighted politicians are desperate for votes, they make appalling decisions. Labour’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scandal is a case in point. By the time the £14 billion capital cost of NHS PFI contracts have run their course, the NHS will have been forced to pay out a total of £76 billion. UKIP will not continue to privatise the NHS by the back door, as both Labour and the Conservatives have done. We will end the use of PFI contracts within the NHS.

STRIPPING OUT UNNECESSARY EU REGULATION Numerous EU Directives prevent medical institutions from operating in the best interests of patients. We will scrap at least two of them: the EU Clinical Trial Directive, which has led to a substantial drop in clinical research and threatened Britain’s position as a world-class leader in this field; and the EU Working Time Directive which, by limiting working and training time to 48 hours in any one week, prevents medics learning essential new skills, putting patient care at risk.

THE TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (TTIP) TTIP is a proposed EU/USA free trade agreement that is being negotiated in secret by the EU Trade Commission and other EU bureaucrats. There is growing concern that TTIP may compel us to put many of our public services up for sale to US companies, thereby privatising significant parts of our NHS. UKIP is committed to securing the exclusion of the NHS, by name, from TTIP. The level of public concern around TTIP makes it a good example of what can potentially go wrong while we remain in the EU and allow EU Commissioners to negotiate every single trade agreement on behalf of twenty-eight member states, including the UK, en bloc. Fears of what TTIP might contain precisely illustrate why UKIP believes we should leave the EU and negotiate our own free trade agreements again. We find it astonishing that other political parties, while launching high-profile campaigns against TTIP, nevertheless remain committed to our EU membership. Their hypocrisy is shameless.

UKIP’s plan for the NHS

We will fund: –

8,000 MORE GPs We will train and employ GPs to meet this current shortfall and waive university tuition fees for new medical students who work in Britain for five years after qualifying. To encourage those who have left the profession to get back into the surgery, we will fund the cost of re-training for GPs who wish to return to practice. To cut GP waiting times and allow GPs to spend more time actually seeing patients, UKIP will reduce the burden of data collection, target chasing, revalidation and appraisal work that interferes with the care GPs can give to patients.

20,000 MORE NURSES AND 3,000 MORE MIDWIVES Not only will UKIP find the training of nurses and midwives, we will also fund return to practice training for those who have taken career breaks. Because we believe nursing starts and ends on the ward, we will bring back the State Enrolled Nurse, and put care and compassion back at the heart of nursing.

EMERGENCY MEDICINE There is a shortage of emergency medicine consultants in our Accident and Emergency departments, just 1200 when the profession needs closer to 2000. The problem stems not so much from a deficiency in training capacity, but from poor retention once registrars or consultants have qualified. 500 UK-trained emergency medicine consultants are currently working in Australia, New Zealand and Canada alone, which illustrates the attrition rate. Bodies representing this field of medicine believe the solution lies in improving working conditions, such as the extent of weekend cover, unsocial hours, extended shifts and leave patterns. Funding the additional consultants is not in itself a problem, as the cost of locums to cover the current shortage far exceeds that of increasing employed staff and this is what we will do.

GPs FOR A&Es Patients who cannot get a GP appointment frequently turn up in A&E instead, putting additional pressure on already over-stretched resources. We will initiate pilot programmes in English hospitals to put GPs on duty in A&E departments seven days a week. If these pilots succeed in easing the burden on A&E staff by freeing them up to treat seriously ill patients more successfully, we will roll the programme out across the country, deploying approximately 1,000 of the 8,000 additional GPs we are committed to funding.

IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES Patients with mental health problems frequently feel ignored and let down. UKIP takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and that means giving mental health parity with physical health. We will introduce practical policies to improve delivery of mental health services, including: –

• Directing patients diagnosed with a debilitating long-term condition or terminal illnesses to mental health professionals when appropriate

• Recognising there is often a link between addiction and mental illness and offering appropriate treatment where this is the case

• Offering direct access to specialist mental health treatment for pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age

• Fighting the stigma around mental illness and supporting those seeking to get back into work. Patients experiencing distress or exhibiting mental ill-health issues when admitted to hospital should have both their physical health and mental wellbeing assessed. This must not just be an optional extra: we will end the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E departments. To fund these initiatives, we will increase mental health funding by £170 million annually, phasing this in through the first two years of the next parliament.

DEMENTIA TREATMENT AND RESEARCH This debilitating and distressing condition is the leading cause of death among women over the age of 55 and the fifth biggest killer of men. We will be investing a full extra £130 million a year into researching and treating dementia by 2017. UKIP will put the ‘national’ back into our national health service We need to get tough on so-called ‘health-tourism.’ Every year the NHS spends up to £2 billion of UK taxpayers’ money treating those ineligible for free care. This bill includes foreign nationals who come to Britain to deliberately seek NHS services at no cost to themselves; those who live here but who do not qualify for free care; treatment for illegal immigrants and those who overstay their visas. The NHS is the National Health Service, not the International Health Service. UKIP will insist migrants and visitors who come to Britain have approved medical insurance. Only those who have the permanent right to remain in Britain and who have paid UK taxes for at least five years will be granted an NHS number and be eligible for the full services offered by the NHS. Urgent medical treatment will still be given to those who need it, but non-urgent treatment will be charged for.

UKIP is the only party that is truly willing to face up to the harsh reality of how health tourism and treating those ineligible is sapping the NHS of funds. The other parties have their heads stuck well and truly in the sand.

HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES

Hospital car parking charges are a tax on the sick. We will invest £200 million to make parking at English hospitals free for patients and their visitors

 

 

UKIP and the NHS

Britain’s best-loved institution is in crisis. The founding of the NHS in 1948 was a victory for the people but, sixty years on, it is the NHS itself that needs emergency care and nursing back to health.

Our ageing population; the dramatic increase in the numbers of people suffering chronic, long-term conditions; uncontrolled immigration, encouraged by Labour and continued under the Tories: any one of these pressures might have been enough to bring the NHS close to breaking point. Combine these with EU directives that have prevented essential training and endless political interference and it is not difficult to understand why the NHS is in serious trouble.

Both Labour and the Tories have utterly failed our NHS by treating it as a political football instead of a cherished institution.

Patients are suffering because of poor policy, made all too often purely for reasons of political expediency. A GP appointment can no longer be guaranteed within any reasonable time frame. Coalition cuts to social care budgets are forcing elderly people to stay in hospital for longer than they should because there is no after-care available for them. Top-down targets forced on Accident and Emergency departments are not realistic; even some of the best hospitals cannot cope.

Despite a chronic shortage of doctors, nurses and midwives, David Cameron’s government wasted billions on a top-down reorganisation he promised would not happen. Labour, which squandered money on financing capital projects at credit card rates through private finance initiatives and giving service contracts worth billions of pounds to private companies when they were in power, are now promising to repeal the Health and Social Care Act, meaning yet more billions will be wasted re-organising the NHS all over again. Both parties administered a disastrous £12 billion NHS IT project which ultimately failed.

UKIP will take better care of taxpayers’ money. We will put an additional £3 billion a year into the NHS in England by the end of the parliament and make sure the money is spent on frontline patient care. We will provide the common sense, the money, the staff, the social care funding and the vital improvements to emergency medicine that the NHS needs.

More on Immigration

ACCESS TO WELFARE AND THE NHS

We have an over-stretched NHS and a high benefits bill, partly because of the pressure from immigration. To combat this, all new migrants to Britain will have to make tax and national insurance contributions for five consecutive years before they will become eligible to claim UK benefits, or access to more than non-urgent NHS services, save for any exceptions stipulated by the Migration Control Commission.

BRITISH CITIZENSHIP

Save for current applications, approved asylum cases and family reunions, we will cease grant of ‘Permanent Leave to Remain’ status. Those on work visas may apply for British citizenship once they have been here for five years. We will revoke the British citizenship of those who have obtained it by fraud or deception and remove those who have obtained entry into Britain by this means. We take the view that British citizens who choose to fight alongside terrorist organisations effectively abdicate their rights to citizenship. We will amend the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 to make enlistment in violent armed groups or transnational terror organisations a crime and we will seek a means to revoke their citizenship and prevent their repatriation.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

There will be no amnesty for illegal immigrants. We will increase the number of immigration compliance and enforcement teams and review current holding and accommodation arrangements for illegal immigrants.

FOREIGN CRIMINALS

Foreign criminals will not be granted a visa to enter the UK Resident migrants who commit crimes resulting in custodial sentence will have their visa revoked and they will be subject to a deportation order. They will be detained until they are removed from the UK.

ENDING THE EU FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE

Our new immigration policies will begin when we confirm our intention to leave the EU with an ‘out’ vote in a national referendum. Any European Union citizen who is resident in the UK at the time of the referendum will be permitted to remain and work here. They will be able to enjoy the benefits of the UK as before and have the opportunity to apply for UK citizenship after five years. The British people accept immigrants and are among the most welcoming and tolerant people in the world. UKIP’s policies recognise the new openness in our world and the positive benefits controlled immigration has brought and can continue to bring to our nation. Only UKIP’s policies have, at their heart, sustainability, ethics and fairness. It is only by pursuing these policies and introducing an Australian-style points based system, that we can all be confident immigration will benefit Britain.