Anna Soubry writes:My grandmother was matron of Hazel Hill care home in Bestwood. A few years after she retired, she passed away in her sleep in our home just outside Worksop. My grandma Soubry had trained as a nurse and came to Nottingham after my parents married; she worked for many years in the public sector. Sadly, she didn’t live much beyond 65.
Today, we are all living longer and enjoying a considerably better standard of living than my grand parents. But the longevity the vast majority of us will enjoy, does not come without a cost. Far more of us will spend our final days in residential care homes and for considerably longer than the men and women my grandma cared for.
How we fund a system that provides excellent care for everyone in their final years is one politicians have grappled with for decades. With the creation of the NHS, health care became free at the point of delivery. Social care was to be provided by local Councils and there was no entitlement for it to be free. For decades people with conditions like dementia have had to pay for residential care and if they can’t pay, then Notts County Council pays the bill. Around 40% of people in residential care had to sell their homes and spend their savings (often hard worked for) on residential care home fees.
The current system is not fair. If you have cancer your treatment is free under the NHS but a dementia sufferer is means tested and if they have assets of more than £23,000, they must pay for their care. Many people think it isn’t fair that those who have scrimped and scraped to pay off their mortgage and save money to pass on to their children or grandchildren, have to pay for residential social care whilst those with no assets receive it for free.
No political party says we should abolish the distinction between health and social care in the elderly, because they know the cost is so huge, we simply can not afford it.
The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 changed the system so that homes belonging to someone who needs residential care don’t have to be sold until after their death. In our manifesto the Conservatives have promised that if elected on June 8, we will raise the current £23,000 limit to£100,000. However, the plan is to charge people receiving social care at home – again it will be free if you have assets under £100,000.
The Conservative proposals for social care mean that a person in residential care, with a condition like dementia, will pay less for their care. It means savings and assets will be better protected enabling more to be passed on.
Responsible political parties accept the reality of the challenge and offer sustainable and honest solutions. The Conservative Party’s plans are not perfect but they are a step in the right direction.
There are other policy matters I want to comment on, some non election news and more great local events for your diary.
A very special Broxtowe Mayor making
I was delighted to attend Wednesday’s Mayor making. A fond farewell was bid to outgoing Mayor Councillor Graham Harvey who has raised over £9,000 for Prostate Cancer UK and attended 333 events. Councillor Halimah Khaled MBE was then installed as our new Mayor. Halimah is a Toton and Chilwell Meadows Councillor who was awarded an MBE for her charity and community relations work. In her first speech Halimah promised to advance tolerance and social cohesion throughout Broxtowe during her term of office. I am sure you will join me in wishing her well and support her work.
School meals – facts not fiction!
The Conservative Party manifesto has promised to give all children under 11 free breakfasts. There will be no changes for children from the poorest of families who are entitled to free school dinners – they will now get a free breakfast as well as lunch.
The previous Coalition Government introduced free lunches for all 5-7 year olds. This will be phased out saving about half a billion pounds and that money will be re-directed to school budgets easing the burden of rising costs on many of our schools. It’s also worth remembering that our schools get the ‘pupil premium’ (extra money) for every child who receives free school lunches.
There is considerable evidence that making sure every child has breakfast improves their ability to learn and study.
Fox Hunting – I won’t vote to bring it back
Theresa May has said the new Parliament will have a vote on whether to change the current Hunting Act and allow the return of fox hunting. Any vote would be a ‘free vote’.
If elected as your MP I will not vote to change the current laws. I have changed my mind on this subject.
Many constituents will know Charlotte Hallam who worked in the constituency office. Charlotte has moved on to another job after 5 years. Charlotte joined my team as an apprentice – her status soon changed as she proved to be talented and hard working. We will miss Charlotte and wish her well in her new career.
A Labour MP gave me some advice about hustings and her approach to them after the 2010 General Election. In short she was of the firm view you meet far more voters knocking on doors than at a hustings. The reality she argued, is that few people attended hustings who have not decided how they will vote. I was not convinced and in 2015 I did some hustings. I came to the conclusion my Labour colleague is right and so I will be knocking on doors and continuing to speak to voters out and about in the constituency, rather than at hustings.
If you would like to discuss any matter or issue you with me please email me.
In the meantime I am waiting for an apology from one group that organised some hustings (and then invited me to go) who quite wrongly told the audience they had had no contact with me. I recall a lengthy and pleasant conversation with the organiser explaining why I couldn’t come along …….
Greasley Gathering – Bank Holiday Monday May 29
This is a great annual event at the Sports and Community Centre on Dovecote Road, Greasley.
It starts at 10 am and finishes at 3 pm.
ABC Arts Trail – June 3rd and 4th
Artists in Attenborough, Beeston and Chilwell throw open their studio doors. Enjoy this two day experience.
Hemlock Happening – Saturday June 10
Another great community event. It starts at 1pm and finishes at 10 on Bramcote Hills Park. Entry is free of charge and there’s a day-long programme of performances by local schools and other groups. Stalls, games, food, activities and much more.
Beeston and Chilwell Garden Trail Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 June
This hugely popular event celebrates its’ 20th year. As well as gorgeous gardens there are plant sales, refreshments and entertainments. Begins at 1 and ends at 5.
Cossall Open Gardens – Sunday June 11
Begins at 1 and ends at 5. Enjoy a leisurely stroll to admire lovely village gardens and stop off for fab cakes and cream teas in the Old School Room. Many gardens offer plants for sale.
The Kimberley Jam – Saturday June 17
Fast gaining in popularity a variety of bands and groups play in Kimberley’s many excellent pubs and bars. It’s all in aid of the Ryan Lee Trust. << More details on their Facebook page >>
Other dates for your diary
Thursday 25th May – Monday 29th May
White Lion Beer Festival
Where: The White Lion, 47-49 Town Street, Bramcote Village, Nottingham
What’s on: Over 20 different beers and ciders, with live music on Saturday and Sunday. For further details please contact the White Lion on 0115 925 7841
Saturday 10th June
St Barnabas 60th Jubilee Garden Party
2pm – 4pm
Where: St Barnabas Church Inham Nook
What’s on: Local star (and pal) Colin Slater MBE is opening the party. Stalls, games, cream teas, fire engine, bouncy castle. All proceeds go to Beeston Memory Café and Sunnyside Spencer Academy. For further details please call 07752 278987
Sunday 11th June
Nottingham Orthopaedic Walk
Where: Highfields Park and Boating Lake near Beeston
What’s on: The walk costs £10 for adults and is free for under 16’s, and it’s completely free to come along and enjoy the stalls and activities. For further details please call 0115 9627905
Saturday 17th June
The Great Get Together Big Picnic on the Park
2.30pm – 6pm
Where: Dovecote Lane Park, Beeston
What’s on: Face painters, live music, magicians and jugglers, Zumba, ice creams, burgers and more.
Saturday 1st July
Broxtowe Community Celebration Group Summer Event
11am – 4pm
Where: Roundhill Primary School, Beeston, NG9 1AE
What’s on: Free event for all ages with activities, workshops, performances and food tasting from around the world. For further details please call Harioko 07749226274
Get involved in my re-election campaign!
Please call 07749 959195 or email email@example.com if you would like a poster, help deliver some leaflets or join us canvassing. I have a great team from all over the constituency so I hope you will join us.
63 High Road,