I listened to Osborne’s statement and my very brief (pending actually proper reading of the document) thoughts are as follows:-
-£2 billion more to be pushed into social care. £1 billion to be provided through the NHS. Not really sure how that will work in practice but I suspect that there will be a number of issues at stake. Eligibility criteria are already being squeezed so this funding will likely go to the very sickest people who are unable to manage most of their own personal care for themselves.
Good, it’s extra money but will leave a large gap with those who don’t meet the increasingly high criteria.
There was talk about an expansion of personal budgets covering people with chronic health needs. I’d be interested in what that actually means, particularly if money is to come from the NHS.
– ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) – a time-limit (12 months) of eligibility for those in the ‘work-related activity group’. This, I’m concerned about. Of course, it probably needs more than precursory glances for me to more fully understand but introducing limits means that it is an arbitrary decision about when someone who is sick or disabled is able to return to work without a medical check or verification. Just a date.
– DLA – cut (or rather ‘realignment’) for those in residential care.
– Housing – I was most surprised by the move to pay housing benefit for a room in a shared house for single people up to 35.
I think the housing changes need more consideration to be honest but they frankly frighten me. People are going to increasingly be shepherded into particular areas of the country thus restricting ability to find work for a start. Housing benefit to be cut across the board by 10% which, combined with a benefits cap may make some parts of the country out of bounds to those who cannot afford to live there.
– The budget for the NHS has been ringfenced but I do wonder how much money it will take to reorganise. Again.
– local authority budgets have taken one hell of a beating. I worry about that.
Two other quick thoughts
490,000 are a lot of jobs to be going. I can’t see them being absorbed by natural wastage or by the private sector.
Every time I hear Osborne or Cameron say ‘We’re all in this together’ I actually want to punch them. We aren’t all in this together.
Now, I’m off to read the 104 page document. I’ll try and compile a more measured analysis within 24 hours!
- The CSR – key announcements (liberalconspiracy.org)
- Spending review 2010: public services experts on the coalition’s plans (guardian.co.uk)
- Spending review 2010: key points at a glance (guardian.co.uk)
- Osborne swings the welfare axe (independent.co.uk)
- Spending Review 2010: what it will mean for key departments (telegraph.co.uk)