13 July 2012
The Weekly WHIP: 13 July 2012
Just over a hundred years ago reform of the House of Lords begun. And then promptly stopped again. It stopped and started more often than a 1980s' Skoda, in the century since, and may well career into the long grass once more.
Under the threat of a crushing defeat, the government withdrew plans to limit the time for debate. They got the bill through its second reading but only with the help of Labour votes after 91 Conservative MPs rebelled.
Rumours swiftly circulated of an angry confrontation with fierce finger pointing between the Prime Minister and Jesse Norman who led the rebellion. Following a meeting of the Conservative 1922 committee suggestions leaked out that radical alterations to the plans were being considered.
Another controversial subject that had been off the scenes for a few years returned this week. Tony Blair has been brought back into the Labour fold to advise on Olympic legacy ahead of the 2015 election. One would hope that the legacy is already underway by then.
Amid the comebacks and throwbacks, the government tried to take a few baby steps towards solving the crisis in elderly care. At the moment there are 12,500 people over 100 in the UK, but this is expected to rise to 100,000 by 2035, making the cost of care a major portion of the UK budget
At present anyone with assets over £24 000, including their house, has to pay for their own care, with those with less, receiving it from the state. Among the government's proposals is a plan to place a cap on costs and payment for care to come through a debt which is paid off when they die
In the Daily Mail this week, Simon Heffer suggested cutting the international aid budget to ease the burden saying : "It morally stinks that a country prefers to look after foreigners instead of its own elderly citizens". The WHIP knows what it thinks morally stinks.
This week Tearfund unveiled a stunning new animation as part of their Unearth The Truth campaign. Every second £3000 is lost through corruption in Africa alone. This is money that could be spent on lifting people out of poverty. Find out what you can do to make mining companies disclose what they pay for oil, gas and other natural resources.
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