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  • #AceNewsGroup 11:12 on January 5, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , kind support, , , ,   

    #AceNewsGroup says to All its Readers “Thank You for 1000 Likes on Our Posts” 


    WP Like Button#AceNewsGroup says today marks another milestone for our group and it is all thanks to you the readers kind support and all your likes, as we have reached 1000 and we could not do it without your support.

    So all l can say is a great big thank you from the Ace News GroupThanks in all languages   

     

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  • #AceNewsGroup 14:57 on October 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Simon Stevens, , , UnitedHealth Group   

    Does the Latest NHS Recruit to the Ranks Simon Stevens-Sound the Death Knell for our Healthcare System 


    NHS Employers stand

    NHS Employers stand (Photo credit: NHSE)

    I was just listening to the BBC today about the latest recruit in the UK NHS healthcare system ,namely a man called Simon Stevens! This person was recruited from none other than United Healthcare and had previously work under the previous labour government, in healthcare! His main objective was to privatise healthcare, but this was not possible under labour, so he left the UK to work for this  private healthcare company. He has now been recruited by the providers of the NHS service company, to make vast changes and proposals in the area of delivery of services! What is a bet that his first will be providing delivery of all services through a private healthcare initiative! I wait and see in the very near future!

    The Independent news today stated: A former adviser to Tony Blair who has spent a decade at the top of an American private healthcare giant has been appointed to run the NHS in EnglandSimon Stevens, the architect of Labour’s health reforms who left the UK in 2004 to take up a lucrative post at the American company United Health, was welcomed by the Health SecretaryJeremy Hunt, as a “reformer and an innovator”. But his choice as chief executive of NHS England will raise concerns among critics who claim the NHS is being “softened up for privatisation”.

    NHS Warning

    NHS Warning (Photo credit: michaelhenley)

    The future from April 2014 for the NHS will be massive reforms built on providing healthcare at the point of delivery or providing healthcare through designated and contracted healthcare companies, with one eye on the balance sheet and the other on the profit margin. The person of individual paying will be the taxpayer and the taxpayer when ill will be paying again, if this government wants to fulfil Mrs Thatcher‘s legacy!

    Well more soon: Ed #AceHealthNews

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:22 on October 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Department of Homeland Security, Electronic Benefit Transfer, Fox News Channel, Neil Cavuto, November 1st, , United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Navy Armed Guard   

    Will All Saints Day Turn Out to be All Hell Day in the US Video 


    English: Seal of the United States Department ...

    English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Fox NewsNeil Cavuto thinks the Department of Homeland Security’s $80 million outlay on armed guards to protect government buildings is directly connected to food stamp cuts set to take effect on November 1st, a day on which all hell could break loose.

    As Infowars first reported on Monday, the DHS announced its intention to hire a raft of new armed guards to prepare for “public demonstrations” and “civil disturbances” in upstate New York, adding that some of the guards would be posted outside IRS facilities.
    Covering the story on his Fox News show, Cavuto said, “November 1st could be a very iffy kind of day….this could be all hell breaks loose day,” noting that the armed guards were not to protect government buildings from terrorist threats but “From American citizens because on November 1st the food stamp program is set to start decreasing the amount that is allocated to food stamp recipients….and they’re worried that violence will ensue.”

    Cavuto’s concern that the cut in food stamp benefits could spark violence is legitimate given what happened when the EBT card system crashed for just hours earlier this month, prompting mini-riots and looting at several Walmart stores.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 15:53 on October 21, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Department of Energy, ED Davey, EDF, Edward Davey, , energy companies, , Energy Minister, Npower   

    Energy-Companies-Allowed-to-Increase-Prices-Government-has-No-Comment 


    Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy, responds to Npower‘s announcement about the rise of their energy tariffs

    Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

    “This is another disappointing announcement from a big energy company. Some of the Big 6 seem not to have noticed that they are no longer alone in the market – there are now fifteen small suppliers, and some really competitive fixed deals out there.

    “Today I’m publishing hard figures on the costs energy companies really face in delivering the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), so consumers can see what this scheme is really costing energy companies.

    “These figures – supplied by the energy companies themselves – show that the costs are in line with previous schemes so there should be no need for any increase to consumer bills due to ECO.”

     EDITORS Comment:   

    The pussy footing of the Energy Minister is evident in this statement as comments, such as this leads us evermore into a state of the consumer pays higher and higher energy prices, just to stay warm! The fact that these companies bosses award themselves larger and larger pay rises, the energy shares rise ever higher, and our Energy ministers best advice is shop around, provides us with no confidence at all that this government will curtail these 6 giants!

    He states that he is going to tell us how hard done by the energy companies are with a new report ,but look at their profits year on year and bonus payments for delivering what, higher bills, lack of investment into new infrastructure, and above all no sign that this Energy minister has any intention of taking our grievances any further.

    So what next well we already know that Osborne is climbing into bed with the French company EDF, but with the added bonus {for them}, not us, that the Chinese will be taking a 20% stake. Of course we are told that the company EDF will not take any tax payers money – that is at the front end of course, not the same situation at the end of building the nuclear power plant. Then they will get a price of £92.50 per therm of electricity provided, but as ED Davey said on BBC Radio Four today ,it will drop to £89.50 ,providing they sign-up for another deal on another plant.

    Well as Ed Davey was asked by Stephanie Flanders Financial Correspondent on BBC Radio Four, does this mean the UK get to invest in the Chinese Energy Markets? – he declined to answer, changed the subject and was cut-off! He returned later with the same rhetoric as we have heard so often before, and it goes something like this ” Without this type of Investment into our Energy Industry we cannot sustain prices as we do now” what are we sustaining! 

    Is that not how this speech started, in the first place, all about the rise of energy tariffs, let me check! Yes l was right the speech was headed:Edward DaveySecretary of State for Energy, responds to Npower‘s announcement about the rise of their energy tariffs.  

    Has he forgot so quickly what he said on the 21st October 2013 – hang on a minute that is today.                      

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 15:31 on October 13, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Eid al-Adha, , , , ,   

    Holy Festival of Eid al-Adha – Celebrated 


    The Prime Minister sends his best wishes to the Muslim community for a joyous and peaceful Eid al-Adha.

    Speaking ahead of Eid al-Adha, David Cameron said:

    I send my best wishes to Muslims in Britain and around the world celebrating the holy festival of Eid al-Adha.

    At this time of year, as is so often the case, we will see Muslims of all ages and backgrounds putting others before themselves, giving to worthy causes and praying for those in need.

    I commend Britain’s near 3 million Muslims for their charity, their self-sacrifice and their devotion to God. I believe that our country is a much stronger one because we have people of faith and belief. Britain’s Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus; their institutions and their values help give us that strength.

    I hope you have a joyous and peaceful festival. Eid Mubarak!

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:40 on July 3, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , #SecondComing, , , , Greater Manchester Police, , , , , Stockport, unjust   

    Manchester cave dwellers: Out of sight, out of mind – Comment – Voices – The Independent 


    Not virtual reality any more but real life!

    Not virtual reality any more but real life!

    When you read articles like this one you think you must be reading a story from the third world, maybe Bangladesh or similar! But NO this is about homeless men and women living close to Stockport, Greater Manchester, that’s right, here in the UK!

    Yesterday l heard about Ipsos awards a 15% pay rise to people on salaries of £66,000 or more, as they cannot live on this amount!

    Trying living on the streets of Greater Manchester for a while and see how that feels!

    But of course we have a government and a Chancellor who says we are in in this together, well these two small comparisons, show that we are not and it is a lie! Of course well is it not this government that coined the word #austerity, well let them have their cake and eat it, and may it taste foul in their mouths, as the come to terms with what other people suffer!

    Oh l know some that will read this post and this excellent article and say we cannot change these people they are oblivious to other peoples pain, but l say this that one man started a revolution and his name was Jesus and as the story goes he will return!

    Or maybe just maybe he is watching all this and already preparing for his “Second Coming” when these people will be judged that judged others wanting!

    Manchester cave dwellers: Out of sight, out of mind – Comment – Voices – The Independent.

    The cost of just hiring a deputy to assist the GM’s Police Chief during these times of #austerity

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:50 on April 20, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Guilty or Innocent, Protect and Survive   

    Does The Law Protect The Guilty 


    Does the law really work in protecting the guilty, not the innocent! It appears that in so many cases that the law of self righteousness, takes over from the truth! Meanwhile businesses who lack any form of ethics, and who have no concious, have only one aim and that is profit, and not people! The only real aim of the law is to protect their client, who pay their bill! Then if you are one of the victims of this injustice, you need to have more money than the company, you are fighting! As guilty or not, they will walk free to carry on their unlawful activities, in the future! Meanwhile the victims continue to suffer and end up paying, for a crime they did not commit!

    Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 21:48 on April 2, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , FCA, , Goverment, , ,   

    Who Were The Real Fools On April Fools Day! 


    On this day we call April Fools Day, the UK Goverment fooled the people of Britain, by giving them just what they wanted! Namely their own way in the fact they believed the rhetoric they were told, and our health services were changed forever. Not just that they gave total control to the. “Bank of England” (BOE), allowing them to create the next financial crisis. Finally having convinced us all our benefits system is costing too much, especially the people who have too much, over the working people. They destroyed the benefits system in one swipe of the pen! Not bad on a day we call ” April Fools Day” the real question. Who were the real fools on that day? l will leave you with this question, but harken to these words” Make your decision based on what you want, and not what you need.Then the day will come when you will say”Why am l suffering, l never did anything for this to happen to me,” the answer is your forgot other people in favour of your own selfish wants!

    Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:46 on March 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , do-not-destroy-the-nhs   

    Privatisation Of NHS Stays Hidden For Those Who Cannot See The Truth! 


    Everyday you hear about how people are misled by our health service management, telling us it will provide a better service. The truth is behind the scenes goverment officials manipulate the truth, to provide even more contracted-out services! This #cash4contracts manouvre happens all the time, and people are led to believe they made the decision, and what our goverment is doing is for our own good. Do not believe what you hear, listen with your heart to the real truth!

    Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

     
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      • acefinance 11:26 on July 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment Vanessa, hope l got your name correctly! ref your comment:
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  • #AceNewsGroup 15:54 on February 27, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Facilities, , , Health care system, ,   

    What Care In The Community – Part One 


    person we should be caring for and not all the rest! The sad fact is we have all the paperwork, departments and training but we just miss one very important fact!

    WeSorry folks have been away on a personal crusade to sort out this – so-called ” Care In The Community” and what really happens, when we as relatives leave it  to the so-called professionals!

    Well it all started about a month ago when my mother who is 89 years young, was submitted to the hospital, suffering from projectile vomiting! It came as a shock when l received the phone call as she had already been picked up and transferred to a hospital, somewhere!

    Now the person who rang me was the now ex-regional manager and l will explain more on her later, but safe to say, supposed to be in charge! Anyway l thanked her for the call and waited about an hour and contacted the local hospital and was told, nobody by that name had been admitted to here! So immediately l rang back my mother’s care services and spoke to the same person and was told well the paramedics picked her up, and took her to hospital, but she knew not where! Now as a relative and her carer, son and main contact l was to say the least some what distraught and when questioned, she said nobody asked we just imagined it would be local!

    So it was left as so often to me to find out where she was and eventually l found her so miles away at another hospital and was told not to worry, as she was alright and having a meal! The nursing sister said we will contact you later after the “react team” have seen her and recommend further. So l asked about visiting and was told could l refrain from visiting, as she maybe out before the weekend, now today was Friday! So l was being told my mother of 89 years of age, housebound and unable to walk without a hoist,  macular degeneration, chronic heat failure and thyroid problems, maybe taken home before the weekend, without even knowing what was wrong with her! In fact after a second visit to another hospital one week later, no body has had the courtesy of advising what was wrong with her, other than to say she had chronic constipation, this was when she was admitted the second time!

    In fact she was released one week later from the first hospital, with even more tablets than before, and still no report of the reason for the vomiting, unless you count the words “well we can find nothing wrong” in fact when l questioned the doctor she said the extra tablets, where in fact anti-sickness! The fact that upon her release the first time no body advised me she had to take extra tablets, and in fact they were found by me two days later thrown on the floor and nobody, even the “care service providers” where aware she had to take them! It was only when l happened to visit on that day a doctor turned up as she had been unwell and they thought it was a UTI {Urinary Tract Infection}, which the doctor flatly denied, but l advised that her lips where so dry up on my arrival as she had not in my opinion, drank enough fluid! Thus the carer’s  had in their intimate wisdom decided it must be a UTI and not lack of looking at the person for any symptoms related to how people get UTI’s, namely lack of fluid!

    Anyway l showed the doctor the tablets and she said, l will check this out and let you know, but stated they are anti-sickness, as one of the other tablets have side effects, that cause sickness! Also as my mother was not a good eater or drank enough fluids without coaxing, then maybe this could the reason, she was sick!!!

    So l waited until l was in town and visited the pharmacy and asked about the tablets, they knew nothing and had no records, so l visited the doctor’s surgery and was told they had sent details to the pharmacy! I stated they had not received these details and upon checking the computer, l was told must be an error. So once again it was up to me to hand deliver the instructions for these tablets, as everyone involved one again had failed to deliver this service.

    My conclusion on just part one of these post, is that we are all to busy getting our health services more money, and miss one vital and most important point, that all that should matter is the  do not have people who care enough about the person that they are caring about, and until we do, more situations like this one will occur, over and over again, l am sorry to say!

    IMPORTANT: You may have noticed that l mentioned no persons, hospitals and services names, as l have an ongoing enquiry underway, which involves every service provider mentioned. This is and will be very involved as l have to wait for their report’s and then follow-up, so until l have more information l cannot disclose names! Just would like to know if anyone else has encountered similar situations? If so please let me know so l can print your findings, or investigate for and on your behalf?  

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:44 on November 21, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , capital gains tax, , council tax bands, , duty stamp, , , , , , Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, tax option,   

    New Council Bands Not For The Rich Says Osborne 


    English: A Western Australia impressed duty st...

    English: A Western Australia impressed duty stamp for eleven shillings and three pence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Government has dismissed speculation that new council tax bands will be introduced to recoup more revenue from the wealthiest homeowners. It follows reports the government was considering additional bands for homes valued over £1,1.2,and £2 million. Most papers report that George Osborne is now expected to raise stamp duty in next month’s Autumn Statement to compensate. 

    So finally George Osborne gets off the fence the opposition party put him on, and hoists his colours to the main party-line!  Well that took a while but was it worth waiting for? Not really! Same old, same old rhetoric, of protect the wealthy! As one day they may vote us back in as the only party, no coalition this time! And as a way to sweeten the pot, no stamp duty for the rich this time around!

    So what do we get instead, oh yes a hidden agenda of raising stamp duty, but for who and at what cost to people’s housing aspirations, not really clear on this either, and l quote! An increase in either stamp duty or capital gains tax are other possibilities if the council tax option is ruled out. Seems pretty certain then we all know what he is going to do in next months budget!

    Either way someone will pay, and l would not take bets if, if l were a betting man, it will not be the beleaguered tax payer, ever willing to shoulders this governments, ineptitude!

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:28 on November 1, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Freedom of information legislation, Liverpool Care Pathway for the dying patient, Marie Curie Cancer Care, , , Royal Liverpool University Hospital   

    Cash4Contracts – Liverpool Care Pathway – Die For Profit 


    English: Royal Liverpool Hospital

    Almost two-thirds of NHS trusts using the Liverpool Care Pathway have received payouts totaling millions of pounds for hitting targets related to its use, research for The Daily Telegraph shows.

    The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal the full-scale of financial inducements for the first time.

    They suggest that about 85 per cent of trusts have now adopted the regime, which can involve the removal of hydration and nutrition from dying patients.

    More than six out of 10 of those trusts – just over half of the total – have received or are due to receive financial rewards for doing so amounting to at least £12million.

    At many hospitals more than 50 per cent of all patients who died had been placed on the pathway and in one case the proportion of forseeable deaths on the pathway was almost nine out of 10.

    Last night the Department of Health insisted that the payments could help make sure that people were “treated with dignity in their final days and hours”.

    But opponents described it as “absolutely shocking” that hospitals could be paid to employ potentially “lethal” treatments.

    The LCP was originally developed at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the city’s Marie Curie hospice to ease suffering in dying patients, setting out principles for how they to be treated.

    It involves the withdrawal of treatments or tests from patients which doctors believe could cause distress and do more harm than good.

    Protocols say that doctors should consult the patient, if possible, and their families.

    But the system has been mired in controversy amid claims that it can actively hasten death.

    A series of cases have also come to light in which family members said they were not consulted or even informed when food and fluids were withheld from their loved-ones.

    According to responses from a sample of 72 trusts, at least £12.4 million has been paid out in the past two to three years to trusts which hit targets associated with use of the care pathway. But the full figure could be more than £20 million.

    Ace News Services: say that this story belies all human decency of life and the so-called actual care of our elderly in hospitals! The mere fact that people die due to lack of fluid or food is bad enough, now a private initiative is opening the doorway to ” death on demand ” and figures l have found from various sources that upward of £500 million will be paid if these people hit their targets of so many people being LET TO DIE, in just one year!  

    This system was devised and originally developed by ” Royal Liverpool University ” and ” Marie Curie Hospice ” to ease suffering! There only way to ease suffering is to stop CARING and Marie Curiewould turn in her grave if she was alive to see this happen!!!!!  

    Marie Curie Cancer Care Great Daffodil Appeal

    Marie Curie Cancer Care Great Daffodil Appeal (Photo credit: HowardLake)

    This is how we used to care and to help you through your pain!!!  Not Now it is Profit Before People!!       

     
    • Ace News Group 13:30 on November 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks to pressure by the Telegraph and the local media news l received a news update that has started a u-turn by the government as The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will reportedly introduce legislation to make it a legal requirement for doctors to explain the Liverpool Care Pathway to the relatives of terminally ill patients and obtain their consent. It comes after some families said that loved ones were placed on the pathway, developed to ease suffering, without their knowledge, and when they were not dying. Mr Hunt said he would enshrine the “basic right” of patients to be involved in decisions and ensure hospitals faced tough consequences if they did not consult families.
      Its better but it does not go far enough Mr Hunt targets being met for people to die – is still wrong!

      Like

  • #AceNewsGroup 20:52 on August 19, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Britannia Unchained, Chuka Umunna, , , , Tory MPs,   

    The Problem with Idols Is They Eventually Fall From Grace 


    The achievements of Britain’s Olympic medallists are to be marked by streets named after them. Under plans being drawn up in Whitehall, town and parish councils will be advised to call roads after successful athletes. Separately, Olympic gold medallists have urged the government to invest in grass-roots sports clubs. 

    A new book Britannia Unchained, Global Growth and Prosperity co-written by a number of Conservative MPs has called on the government to bring in tough new employment reforms to tackle “lazy” Britain. The book also claims that a “bloated public sector” is “dragging down” the UK’s economy. Commenting on the publication Labour’s business spokesman Chuka Umunna says: “People who work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes shouldn’t have to put up with Tory MPs calling them lazy. David Cameron should immediately distance himself from this attack on hard-working British families”.

    So now we are being shown how we should act in society and if we do not come up to certain standard, we are classed as idle and shiftless! It appears that unless we are world champions, celebrities or went to the right school, we are not stock!

    Well Mr Cameron l came from a hard-working family and my dad worked 14 hours a day, my mother worked all her life! They paid their taxes and in 1984 my dad died of Leukemia.when l was 30 years of age! I made a promise to care for my mother and have kept that promise!

    Meanwhile you give my mother £4.00 per week and take away £3.00 by changing the welfare rules! Her costs for her care for working all her life is now £59.22 it was £32.35 only 3 years ago! I can can claim £58.35 as long as l give 35 hours of my time, so l cannot work full-time! So l work in the community and help people in need by providing work for those that this government has managed to be made redundant!

    When you leave school with little or no qualifications and cannot get a job, it is because under-graduates can! Then they sign on and are humiliated by the fact that service contract companies are set-up to make sure the government like       ” Pontius Pilate” can wash their hands of them!

    These so-called Tories should be put in their place by our so-called Prime Minister, as he is supposed to be the leader of this country! Then instead of spending money on new street names for the recent crop of winners, he should spare a thought for the ones that are having their benefits cut!                    

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 05:56 on August 12, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Legal Eagles, Office for National Statistics   

    Adoption – How Safe Are Children – Under New Rules 


    Adoption by Choice, Erie PA

    Adoption by Choice, Erie PA (Photo credit: hbimedialibrary)

    Adoption

    Adoption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Office of National Statistics has reported that more children are being adopted between the ages of one and four. The proportion rose to 62% last year, up from 58% of all children adopted in 2010. Total adoptions in England and Wales increased by 6% to 4,734. The number of adoptions of children under the age of one fell from 95 to 76. The figures follow David Cameron’s announcement, last month, to overhaul adoption law. He wants children to move in with potential families before legal procedures are finalised.

    As l have written before my real worry about speeding up any procedure, when the legalities are not fully in place, can lead to problems in the future.

    The mere fact that we have more children awaiting adoption, should not be the reason to be cavalier about their lives! We must protect them at against changes,that could lead them one day to be vulnerable! This maybe a way for this government to save money on ” legal aid” but it should not be the most important reason for changing legislation!

    One of the far-reaching effects of such a changes due to that ” before legal procedures are finalised ” it will become a costly mistake in the future when the child is old enough to make decisions for themselves.In that ” legalities of procedural rights” may then become a litigation issue and further costly legal procedures maybe required! This then maybe the plan of any government as to eventually make changes to ” Legal Aid ” as to eventually “water it down” or eradicate its use! Though it will always provide the ” Legal Eagles” with work, even though it will be private work and costly to the client! This of course does not even consider trauma caused to both the client and their well-being! 

    So l say NO! to Cameron’s or any government that proposes such changes, whereby they put any child into an environment before ” all legalities of procedure” have been FULLY completed and the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed!                           

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:21 on August 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , CTB, , Income Support, Institute for Fiscal Studies, , ,   

    Reducing Council Tax Benefit Will Benefit Government 


    Bill of Benefits

    Bill of Benefits (Photo credit: judge_mental)

    This was a snippet of  news picked up just a while ago, that interested me as to the ramifications! It seems that this was a joint decision by the coalition on the surface of it, but the full article on the this story, reveals a lot more!

    Anyway here is the extract firstly courtesy of the IFS and Paul Johnson:

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that poor families are set to have their council tax benefits cut due to the Coalition telling councils to cut their benefit bills by 10%. IFS chief Paul Johnson said: “They could decide to take 10% off the current cost of council tax benefit, which means some council tax recipients will be worse off. It’s quite hard to do this without affecting those who receive 100% council tax benefit – the very poorest.” Labour peer Baroness Hollis said the proposals were “deeply unfair”.

    Under the present situation these rules apply and provide these guidelines:

    Council Tax Benefit: key facts about the current system
    Council Tax Benefit (CTB) provides means-tested help to people on a low income who have to pay Council Tax. For working age people there is a limit on savings of £16,000. If you claim means-tested out-of-work benefits (Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance) you generally receive full assistance, so that you do not pay Council Tax at all. If you are in work or have other income you can still receive CTB but are likely to get less than the full amount, so that your Council Tax bill will be reduced but not eliminated.

    A more generous system applies to pensioners. If you claim Pension Credit (guarantee element) there is no limit on the amount of savings you can have and you will normally not pay Council Tax at all. Pensioners with higher incomes can also qualify, even if they do not get Pension Credit, and depending on their circumstances can qualify with an income of £400 a week or more. Around 60% of pensioners are entitled to CTB, though many fail to claim.

    Under the new system whereby the amount of benefit is cut by 10% these rules would be drastically amended:

    The government’s reform proposals: 

    The government’s consultation paper makes the following proposals:
     Help with Council Tax will be a local authority responsibility and will not become part of Universal Credit (as DWP and some commentators have urged)
     The amount provided to local authorities for the new system will be 10% less than current spending on CTB
     Support for pensioners will not be affected by this cut in spending and will remain at existing levels with existing rules
    Local authorities will be free to establish whatever rules they choose for their schemes for working age people (and will administer the scheme for pensioners using national rules)
     Central government will provide a fixed amount of money to local authorities to operate their new schemes. Unlike current arrangements, this central government grant will not be ring-fenced and will not vary according to demand
     New local schemes to provide help with paying Council Tax must be in place by April 2013
    The consultation paper only directly affects England and separate proposals are likely to be made in Wales and Scotland. However, the 10% spending reduction affects all parts of Great Britain and in the analysis below and in the Annex it is assumed that Wales and Scotland follow suit in protecting the position of pensioners.

    Impact of the expenditure cut:

    When the new system of local support for Council Tax is introduced in April 2013 the amount provided to local authorities will be reduced by 10% relative to current expenditure on CTB, saving around £480 million a year. However, characterising this as a 10% cut is disingenuous, as pensioners are in effect excluded from the new system. In terms of the population of working age claimants, who are the only ones that can be affected by new rules, the cut is much larger than 10%.
    The national picture is shown in the table below. It shows the kinds of people who are currently claiming CTB and how this relates to the savings target of £480 million. Working age people are divided into those who are receiving full CTB, almost all of whom will be claiming claim means-tested out-of-work benefits (Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance), low earners who are receiving some CTB but have to pay some Council Tax themselves, and other people who are receiving some CTB but are not in work.

    Options for meeting the savings target: ‘equal pain’
    As shown by the analysis above, local authorities have to make very large savings from working age claimants to meet the government’s savings target. One approach to this would be to impose an ‘equal pain’ rule and reduce all benefit payments by the same proportion (19% on average nationally). However, for those claimants currently getting full CTB this would mean starting to collect Council Tax from a group who currently pay nothing. Moreover, the reason they do not pay anything at the moment is because they qualify for means-tested benefits like Income Support, where by definition the amount of money they have to live on is at ‘safety net’ levels.
    Local authorities have some experience of the difficulty of extracting small amounts of money from people living in poverty. The ill-fated Community Charge (or ‘Poll Tax’) of the early 1990s imposed a minimum 20% charge on all citizens, whatever their income or status, so that local authorities had to trace and collect money from everyone living in their locality. While the property base for Council Tax will make the task somewhat easier, that experience shows the difficulty with moving away from full rebates for the poorest. Administering the system is likely to be expensive, with many of the 2 million people now expected to pay likely to opt for weekly or monthly payments, and there is always the possibility of mass non-compliance, as occurred with the Poll Tax.

    It may therefore make more sense to look at completely removing entitlement to help with Council Tax from some groups. As well as helping with the administrative problems outlined above, this approach has two advantages. First, it means that particularly vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities or children, can be protected from the cuts. Second, it is the most effective way of increasing work incentives for particular groups, as it will make them poorer when unemployed and no worse-off when in employment.

    Options for meeting the sales target – removing entitlement for some groups!

    There are a number of groups who might be candidates for removing from entitlement altogether. For instance, one possibility would be to restrict eligibility for support to tenants, so that owner occupiers were expected to pay the full amount of Council Tax whatever their circumstances. In terms of collection it might be possible to treat unpaid Council Tax as a charge against the value of the property, so that people who could not pay would effectively find arrears added to their mortgage. And low earning owner-occupiers are one of the main groups to benefit from Universal Credit, enjoying help with mortgage payments where none is available currently, creating a further reason for treating this group less favourably. Around 1.5 million CTB claimants are owner-occupiers, and though the majority of these are likely to be pensioners it is likely that removing entitlement from this group would be just about sufficient to meet the savings target.
    However, a criterion based on tenure-type would necessarily affect claimants with children or disabilities, two groups who local authorities would hope to protect (and, in the former case, which they have a statutory duty to protect under child poverty legislation). A more attractive route might therefore be to remove from Council Tax support all working age people who do not meet certain criteria, such as having dependent children, living in a household where someone is disabled, being pregnant or a full-time carer. Such conditions would largely mirror the conditions for claiming Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance, so that in effect claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance would be excluded from the scheme. Nationally around 600,000 people receive full CTB because they are claiming income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, though around 20% of these have dependent children. Subtracting claimants with children, the likely saving nationally from removing Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants would be around £420 million, and once savings on working non-disabled childless people are included it is likely that the saving target would be met.

    The harshness of such an approach cannot be denied. A single unemployed person without children or disabilities currently receives £67.50 a week to live on, and forcing them to pay Council Tax would reduce this to closer to £50 a week. It is difficult to see how they will make ends meet, and collection of Council Tax from this group is likely to be a severe problem. Nevertheless, maintaining support for people with children or disabilities, and avoiding the potential administrative nightmare of imposing ‘equal pain’, will necessarily involve making difficult choices such as this!

    Slides from the DWP workshop on the changes in...

    Slides from the DWP workshop on the changes in Housing Benefit (Photo credit: solobasssteve)

     
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