Welfare reform: will the Lords hold their nerve?

Today (February 14), the House of Lords will be debating the Welfare Reform Bill from 2.30pm. This is the Bill they sent back to the Commons with seven amendments, which MPs reversed out of hand. The government went on to state it would us ‘financial privilege’ rules to push the legislation through Parliament in its original form – an entirely undemocratic move that has led many to question the legality of the government’s tactics, and some to call for the Queen to deny Royal Assent to the Bill, on the grounds…

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NHS changes – how much power do GPs need, anyway?

This might be controversial but it occurred to me that ‘comedy’ David Cameron and Andrew Lansley have been pinning much of their hopes for the Health and Social Care Bill on a perception that local doctors – GPs in their parlance – are best-suited to direct where spending on healthcare actually goes. I’m not convinced that’s true. Why are people at the entry-level of the NHS being acclaimed as experts? I suffer from a condition known as cluster headaches. Every couple of years, I get fast-onset, extremely painful one-sided migraine…

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NHS London risk register exposes Tory threat to healthcare

It seems the London NHS Risk Assessment that was sent to the central Department of Health civil servants drawing up the Risk Register & Report (the document that Andrew Lansley refuses to publish, contrary to a ruling by the Information Commissioner), has been leaked and is now public knowledge. According to the information in this document, London NHS’s Risk Register explicitly warns that the financial viability of the Tory NHS Bill is seriously questionable, predicting “deteriorations in the financial positions of one or more NHS organisations”. Practices could go bust or require central…

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The Cabinet splits – are we looking at another Torygeddon?

It seems David Cameron didn’t make such a good job of revitalising Conservatism after all. Three Cabinet ministers have gone to Tory Blogsite ConservativeHome to vent their frustration at the comedy Prime Minister’s refusal to listen to their concerns about Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill. “One was insistent the Bill must be dropped,” the blog post by Tim Montgomerie states. “Another said Andrew Lansley must be replaced. Another likened the NHS reforms to the poll tax,” which was disastrous for the Tories in 1990. So you see, they’re all…

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Carving up the NHS is Cameron’s vanity project

The more we find out about Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill – his bid to privatise the NHS – the more childish it all seems. This has been a week of shocks for the architects of the Bill, starting with the revelation that a Conservative ‘insider’ had described Mr Lansley as “a disaster” who, far from winning over critics of the Health Bill, has managed “to further annoy and alienate NHS staff”, and that a Downing Street briefing had called for him to be “taken out and shot”.…

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Welfare Reform Bill: a request for information

In April last year I wrote to my MP, Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat) regarding the Welfare Reform Bill and changes to Disability Living Allowance. He had sent me a letter from Maria Miller (a DWP minister, I believe), claiming that it should reassure me. It didn’t. Now, as the government is ramrodding this vile Bill through Parliament using a procedure that is not valid (as far as any of us can tell), I’d like to resurrect some of the issues I raised with him then, and ask whether any of…

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Mr Lansley’s UNclean Bill of health

I have trust issues when it comes to Andrew Lansley and his Health and Social Care Bill. Mr Lansley swears blind that introducing competition will not only bring in better patient care, but will drive costs down as well. The problem is, so much of the medical profession opposes it – including huge numbers of GPs, the people who are meant to benefit the most – that one has to be sceptical. Also, if his Bill is so healthy, why is he – even now – refusing to publish the…

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Show your contempt for this arrogant dictatorship

Does anybody reading this still think the UK is a democracy? I dare say most people are aware that the government, in the House of Commons, has reversed all seven amendments made by the Lords to the Welfare Reform Bill. This means the new benefits cap of £26,000, per family, will include Child Benefit. The Bill will also: Require cancer patients to undergo a means test for Employment Support Allowance – if they fail, they have to look for work Reduce the lower rate of the ‘disabled child’ element of…

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