Party lines

The Conservatives

On the government’s record

“When analysing the government’s performance on health and social
care, there is a real danger of being blinded by initiatives and
statistics… scratch below the surface in the case of care for the
elderly and children’s services and you find a picture of bad
morale, ministerial incompetence and suffering among some of
society’s most vulnerable members.” Liam Fox MP, shadow
health secretary.

“Since 1997 the British people have seen 60 tax rises but no reform
of public services. Now we find that Labour will have employed at
least an extra two-thirds of a million public sector workers by
2006… All the extra money and jobs are not making a difference as
Labour is not reforming.” Shadow chancellor Michael

On the care home crisis
“A thriving care home sector is pivotal to the effectiveness of the
overall health care system. Labour’s chronic mismanagement
illustrates clearly what happens when ministers fail to recognise
this… If only ministers had heeded what the Conservative Party
repeatedly warned, the crisis would have been avoided.”
Liam Fox MP, shadow health secretary

On claims of governmental interference in social care
“I want councils to be able to innovate and inspire local
people and I want them to be free to develop local solutions to the
problems of their areas. I want to enhance the role you play as
advocates for your local communities, but to do so we must urgently
row back from the centralising approach that has done so much
harm.” Iain Duncan Smith. Speech to Local Government
Association, Harrogate, July

“Professionals need to know that they will receive unintrusive,
sensitive support from the government, so that they can have
confidence to do their jobs to the best of their ability.”
Liam Fox MP


“We will introduce New York style policing, putting police officers
back on the beat in every town and parish.” This will include an
extra 40,000 police officers on the streets, paid for by savings
from the asylum budget.

Local government

“A presumption in favour of freedom for councils. This will
allow poorly performing councils to innovate and experiment until
they find the policies and solutions that are right for their
area.”Iain Duncan Smith,

  • The comprehensive performance assessment regime and the Best
    Value scheme will go. The CPA will, probably, be replaced with an
    annual financial audit, results published in plain English for
    local people.
  • No cap on council tax rises.

Young offenders, drugs and alcohol

Longer, “more constructive” sentences for persistent young
offenders. Sentences will be followed by “a long period of active

  • There will be a ten-fold expansion in residential drug
    treatment places, which will amount to 20,000 extra places.
  • Every hard drug addict will be offered the choice of intensive
    treatment based on abstinence or criminal proceedings. Most of
    these services to be provided by locally-based groups.
  • A Conservative working party is looking at ways to tackle the
    UK’s “binge drinking” culture and will report next spring.

Asylum seekers

  • There will be more effective port-of-entry screening and
    one-stop shop processing centres, which will be located
  • A fixed quota system of up to 20,000 genuine asylum seekers
    each year will be introduced.
  • All immigrants will be screened for health problems and
    diseases before arrival.

The Kirkhope commission, which was set up by Oliver Letwin,
reported last month. It recommends:

  • Five-year probationary period for successful asylum
  • Contract of obligations which, if breached, would result in
    loss of asylum.
  • State persecution becomes the only acceptable reason for
    granting asylum.
  • Asylum seekers lose access to legal aid and judicial
  • New Application Board appointed to deal with asylum cases and
    applicants’ rights to a single appeal – cases kept outside normal
    legal system.
  • Proposal for new asylum application centres set up in “remote”
    areas of the UK to be financed by the UK withdrawing its £1bn
    contribution to the EU overseas aid budget.

Social housing

The proceeds from the right to buy policy – council tenants option
to buy their homes from the local authority – is to be reinvested
in social housing through housing associations.


  • More freedom for NHS hospitals, including abolishing central
    targets, introducing freedom to borrow money for expansion, and
    locally agreed pay rates to attract staff.
  • Patients will be given a “passport” that will enable them to
    transfer the cost of NHS treatment to any hospital (public or
    private) they choose.
  • An NHS entitlement card will be introduced to prevent abuse of
    the health care system by illegal immigrants.


  • Good schools should be allowed to expand and new schools will
    be set up outside the state sector. Pupils wishing to attend
    schools outside the state sector can take their funding with
  • Head teachers to be given the final say over school policies,
    including home school contracts and school exclusions.
  • Tuition fees scrapped.
  • Scrapping Labour’s target of 50 per cent of school leavers
    entering university by 2010.
  • More emphasis on and investment in vocational education.

Voluntary sector

“Just because the state pays for services doesn’t mean it has to
provide them.” More scope for voluntary organisations to take on
work currently provided by statutory organisations.

Liberal democrats

Direct payments

  • Access to direct payments for care services a right for
  • Supporting development of user-driven co-operative service
  • There will be stronger advocacy services, particularly from the
    voluntary sector.
  • Facilitating direct involvement of service users as equal
    partners in planning and reviewing care provision.
  • More funding for consultation and user involvement.


  • Increase the carers allowance to reflect the cost of care.
    Initially, this will involve extending the carers premium to all
    carers who receive the basic state pension.
  • Local authorities to pay greater attention to the needs of
    carers, driven by a carers’ strategy within the community


  • Incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into
    domestic law.
  • Establishing a politically independent children’s commissioner
    in England as part of a single Equality Commission.


  • Amending the Care Standards Act 2000 to incorporate human
    rights standards.
  • Incorporating statements on compliance with the Human Rights
    Act 1998 into care contracts as a condition for registration by the
    Commission for Social Care Inspection.
  • Outlawing age discrimination in the provision of services.
  • Reforming legislation on mental capacity and the role of the
    Court of Protection to maximise the continuing scope for autonomy
    of those lacking full capacity.

Vulnerable people

  • Creating a single, independent Commission for Care Standards
    and Inspection out of the Commission for Social Care Inspection and
    the Commission for Health care Audit and Inspection. This body
    would have clear statutory duties to safeguard and promote the
    welfare of children and adults.
  • Improving the skills of police, social services, health
    professionals and others to identify and respond to abuse.
  • Area child protection committees would be given statutory
    powers. Relevant agencies would be under a duty to participate. The
    chairperson of the committee would have a duty to report directly
    to councillors any concerns about the ability of local agencies to
    protect children.
  • Streamlining the child protection court system.

Integration of social care

  • Local government to take on responsibility for commissioning
    primary health care, at the same tier as social services.
  • Using the community planning process to look at care needs
    holistically alongside housing needs, community facilities and the
    physical environment.
  • Planning specialised health and social care services regionally
    as part of plans for the development of elected regional government
    in England.


  • Substantial savings anticipated from the abolition of council
  • Reform of local government finance in general.
  • Efficiency gains from ending the duplication and bureaucracy of
    separate health and social care commissioning.
  • Abolition of bed-blocking fines. Funds set aside for fines
    would be given straight to local authorities to pay for investment
    in increasing capacity in community, intermediate and long term
  • Establishing a full-scale independent review (similar to
    Wanless Report) of the overall resources required for social

Social care charging

  • Abolition of charges for personal care for those in long-term
  • “Critically assessing” the current charging policy for
    non-residential care services.
  • Department of Health to issue clear guidance on the
    implementation of the Coughlan judgement 1999 to clarify the
    situation regarding continuing care funding.

    Social care workforce

  • Establishment of clear career paths for personal development
    within social care.
  • Provision of effective IT systems and development of management
  • Attracting new entrants to the workforce from a diverse range
    of backgrounds.
  • Encouraging movement of people between health, social care and
    other related fields.
  • Inspection process reformed to support practitioners.
  • “Arbitrary and meaningless” star-ratings system abolished.


  • Non-violent criminals put to work in the community doing such
    tasks as building roads, restoring neglected community spaces, and
    removing graffiti.


Labour on the opposition

  • “The Tories are obsessed with an elite few -Êthey will
    slash 90,000 student places and allow the proportion of students
    from poorer backgrounds to plummet.”
  • “The Conservatives ‘patient’s passport’ is no more than a
    one-way ticket to privatisation that would destroy the NHS.”
  • “The Liberal Democrats cannot be taken as a serious political
    party for as long as they continue to make uncosted, opportunistic
    health policy pledges. Throughout the week we have seen them notch
    up the same old wish-list with no price tag attached. Yesterday,
    they made a spending commitment of £2bn on health with no clue
    on where the money is coming from.”
  • “From Sure Start to student places, the Tory commitment to 20
    per cent cuts across the board would devastate Britain’s education
    – their so-called ‘fair deal’ for education is a raw deal for
    parents, pupils, students and Britain.”
  • “The Liberal Democrats’ policies on drugs are out of touch. The
    abuse of illegal drugs kills many young people every year and yet
    the Lib Dems argue for a significant relaxation of drugs
  • “The Tories are the party of mass unemployment. Under the
    Tories unemployment hit three million twice and was considered a
    ‘price worth paying’ They opposed the New Deal and would axe it,
    turning their backs on the 420,000 young people who have benefited
    from it.”

Labour claims:


  • Introduced a National Minimum Wage.
  • Record numbers of people in work.
  • New Deal -Êhelped over 380,000 young people into
  • Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.


  • Record police numbers in England and Wales. Cut crime by 25 per


  • Per pupil funding in England increased by £1,000 by
  • Best ever primary school results.
  • Five, six and seven year olds in class sizes of 30 or
  • Added 24,700 more teachers into England’s schools.
  • Record numbers of students in higher education.


  • NHS has gained more than 50,000 nurses and 10,000 more
  • NHS Direct -Êoffering free patient advice 24 hours a
  • Waiting lists down.
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Antisocial behaviour orders introduced in 1999.
  • Plans revealed by DWP to dock housing benefit of tenants found
    guilty of antisocial offences.


  • Complete reform of the child protection system under way with
    green paper Every Child Matters.
  • Paedophiles may be electronically tagged and their movements
  • Early intervention schemes include Identification, Referral and
    Tracking, Sure Start, summer splash schemes and intensive
    supervision of young offenders.
  • Plans to roll out far wider use of “restorative justice”.
  • Child tax credit introduced giving more money to parents.
  • Half a million children out of poverty.
  • Free fruit at infant schools.
  • Free nursery places for three- and four-year-olds in
  • Free school milk for five-, six- and seven-year-olds in
  • Child benefit up by £5 to £16.05 a week.


  • Devolved power to the Scottish parliament and Welsh
  • Record rises in the state pension.
  • £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners, with an extra
    £100 for the over-eighties.
  • Free TV licences for over-seventy fives.
  • Brought in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, outlawing
    race discrimination in all public functions.
  • Established Disability Rights Commission.

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