Bridget Phillipson: ‘Recession was entirely avoidable’

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We have been plunged back into recession, the double dip recession that experts had warned against.

These warnings weren’t heeded by the Tory-led government. It is families, pensioners and businesses across Wearside who are paying the price for Chancellor George Osborne’s arrogance. This recession was entirely avoidable.

The financial crash of 2008 brought economic turmoil across the world, including here in Britain.

But the then Labour Government took action and Britain was emerging from recession with strong growth.

The Tories threw all that away with cuts that were too deep and too fast. Osborne says he wants to bring down the deficit, but it’s not happening.

As the dole queues grow, the Government is paying more out in benefits and fewer people are paying taxes.

That’s why the deficit is increasing and the Government’s plans have backfired so badly. The longer the government insists on sticking with this failed plan, the more serious the damage will be.

Perhaps the only message they will listen to is at the ballot box – and they certainly received a clear message in last Thursday’s local elections.

This week the Government will set out its plans for legislation in Parliament with the Queen’s Speech.

I believe one area where we urgently need action is the growing care crisis.

I want to see a better, fairer and more transparent care system for the elderly.

I know from meeting carers locally how much pressure looking after elderly relatives with declining health can place on a family.

I have heard some desperately sad stories from families who are finding it almost impossible to get by.

They are trying to get the care that a loved one needs, working out how it will be paid for while still juggling their own jobs and responsibilities.

No matter how much you love someone, there often comes a point when outside help is needed.

Many carers are forced to give up work and they can be pushed into poverty. Carers also face huge emotional and physical strain.

The independent Dilnot Commission proposed a cap on care fees where no one would pay more than 30 per cent of their saving and assets.

He also recommended that the limit where people are responsible for their full care costs should rise to £100,000.

At the moment, those on low to middle incomes who saved throughout their lives, find themselves penalised.

At the same time, local councils are facing cuts of £1billion to their social care budgets, reducing the help they can offer.

We need to find a solution to this and I think the Dilnot report is the right starting point.

As life expectancy rises, the demands on the system will only increase. I hope that we can put aside party politics in this vital area.

We need a system where we respect the dignity of all our older citizens and make sure they get the care and protection they need and deserve.