Tories Drop Labour Spending Plans

November 18, 2008

David Cameron has announced that the Conservative Party will not match Labour’s spending plans for 2010/11 for the simple and obvious reason that the country will be unable to afford increased spending.

This is to avoid huge increases in taxes later due to Gordon Brown’s crazy borrowing and will also allow the Conservatives the opportunity to either reduce government debt or cut taxes or both.

This announcement is hugely significant. It gives the Tories several options in tackling the downturn in the economy without having to borrow more. Prudent and responsible!

Future Tax Rises Inevitable!

November 17, 2008

‘Isn’t it the case that Labour’s borrowing bombshell will soon become a tax bombshell? And let’s be clear about what that means. Borrowing £30 billion now will mean an income tax bill for the average earner of nearly £1,500 later.Everyone knows the prime minister is planning a Christmas tax giveaway, but tax cuts should be for life, not just for Christmas. We need real tax cuts not tax cons.’

(David Cameron in the commons responding to Gordon Brown)

Whether Gordon Brown calls it a ‘fiscal stimulus’ or simply ‘additional borrowing’ the taxpayer will have to pay it back with interest in due course. But our PM doesn’t care as long as it gives him a chance of winning the next election.

A Social Worker’s Response

November 13, 2008

My comments here and here on the case of Baby P has annoyed and angered a Manager of Social Workers who has contacted me and complained that I did not present a balanced view of the pressures social workers are facing, which in turn is leading to decisions being made that have an adverse impact on child protection.

The Manager who wishes to remain anonymous complains that:

‘Laming said social workers should hold 12 cases. On average social workers have 20. Other cases keep coming so emergencies still need seeing to daily. Some times cases with kids on at risk register [are] not seen until first review which is 3 months after case conference. [When] workers are off sick, we don’t get more staff.

If society want social workers to protect kids, give us tools to do the job. Demographics and social deprivation all have an effect on people – stress, drugs and poverty have direct link to child abuse. We are in extremely depressive financial times. The referrals never stop coming in, teams do not grow but stay the same. I clearly feel passionately about this having been a manager for eight years and a social worker for five. People just don’t see the other side.’

‘Social worker training and experience is very poor. A person can now qualify at 19. Without being ageist a 19 year old can go to high risk cases!

As I do not have any experience of working in social services and only had limited exposure to social services funding when I was a councillor, I’ll neither deny or accept for now what has been put forward.

However, even after taking into consideration the pressures on Social Workers, the handling of the case of Baby P is simply unacceptable. This child was visited on 60 occasions by authorities and his case file should have had a bright red danger light flashing next to it. All the obvious signals appear to have been missed and the fact that no one has been held to account 15 months after this tragedy is shameful. Its only after David Cameron’s intervention at PMQ’s that an independent inquiry been set up. Can’t the Leader of the opposition raise concerns regarding the care of a child who subsequently dies who was in the watch of a Local Authority without being accused of playing party politics?

If the provision of social services isn’t adequately funded as our manager has claimed, or the training provisions inadequate, and the workload for each worker unbearable, then this is a damning indictment of the Labour Government’s record in this area. This Government has borrowed and taxed like none other before it and even after this tax and spend binge, if social workers feel there is inadequate funding and unbearable pressures on the system, then there ought to be a root and branch review of the whole system – except we had this after the Victoria Climbie case and yet we’re still talking about dealing with the same issues and concerns now.

Baby P Inquiry

November 13, 2008

An independent inquiry into the death of Baby P has been commissioned by Children’s Minister, Ed Balls. It’s a quick and inevitable u-turn by Gordon Brown after accusing David Cameron of playing politics at PMQ’s yesterday for wanting the same thing.

I find it disturbing that Ed Balls isn’t able to provide all the relevant information already and seeks an inquiry now when he ought to have requested a report as soon as he became aware of the death of Baby P. He didn’t have to release the report until the trial had ended but what prevented him from gathering all the relevant information?

Brown’s Disgrace

November 12, 2008

David Cameron was absolutely right to ask Gordon Brown about the inquiry into the death of Baby P at Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon. Brown’s response was utterly disgraceful. If asking for an independent inquiry into what seems an avoidable death is playing party politics then I’m sure most people in the country will want to play party politics. Cameron got very angry and rightly so. The computer generated images of the injuries to Baby P are enough to make anyone’s blood boil and for the PM to reply in the way that he did shows how out of touch with reality he really is. Most people in the country would want an independent inquiry and thereafter people held to account. Dismissing this as party politics was a disgrace.

Tory Tax Cuts

November 11, 2008

David Cameron this morning set out the Conservative party’s proposals for dealing with rising unemployment by giving employers a £2500 tax cut in the national insurance they pay for each person they recruit who has been jobless for three months. The effect of this proposal would create 350 000 new jobs and be worth £2.6 billion to employers and is funded out of the money that would otherwise be spent on unemployment benefits.

This is a funded tax cut that helps businesses and equally important gets those people unemployed for a short period back into work. Cameron has understood that short term unemployment very quickly turns to medium then long term unemployment with the inevitable effect that skills acquired are lost and the attractiveness of that employee to potential employers diminishing with time.