Pensioners Concerns about Sovereign Harbour as an economical place to live
|Sovereign Harbour SH||SH Annual Estate Rentcharge||SH Disability Association||SH Emails||SH Pensioners Concern||SH Property Guidelines|
By Keith A. Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org. He and his wife live in Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne. A disabled journalist, he is a member of the UK's The Society of Authors and an activist for the elderly and disabled. He hopes good health enters your cabin doors. If not, may you have the grace to deal with your lot. May your share of prosperity be adequate and deserved. May your persistent smiles promote goodwill and brotherhood. And may prosperity slow down enough to allow humanity to catch up.
Only on this website, not on any estate agent or council or community websites, is it revealed that purchasers/leaseholders of residential Sovereign Harbour property must pay a unique annual and increasingly expensive flood defence and harbour charge averaging £290 a year in 2019 (£265 a year in 2018) in addition to council taxes, property insurance, management fees and ground rents. In no other flood area or harbour or marina area or private estate anywhere else in Britain, the UK, Europe or the world does this apply. A much wider flood zone area than just Sovereign Harbour is involved, affecting more than 17,000 homes, yet the Sovereign Harbour Trust, owned by The Wellcome Trust makes only 3,104 Sovereign Harbour residents and their successors pay it, to the Environment Agency, not businesses including managing agents and property developers. As Members of Parliament and Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County councillors have refused to help right this wrong applicable uniquely and solely to Sovereign Harbour residents, the matter has now been referred to overseas agencies . A second unique covenant requires owners/leaseholders of 369 South Harbour properties in the water feature precinct to pay a further annual charge of £328 in 2019. It is the only such water feature in the world that applies such a charge to properties overlooking it.
Accessibility on trains
Not improving, poor by international standards
Older/disabled people are apprehensive about using trains. Their reliability is now in question. Every day, there are messages saying one service or another is being cancelled for engineering work and replaced by buses. Ours are already the most expensive in the world. Government claims that hugely higher costs are justified because they are being replaced by brand-new railway cars, better service and more frequent timetables, but other countries have these without excessive costs from taxpayers. Our system is so expensive because travelers not government bear the burden. No other government has such an abhorrent policy for train users. Massive new private, not public, investments in railway stock, with our system the most privatized anywhere, have not made things better. Other factors have affected the worsening situation. Changes to remove guards from trains who helped the elderly and disabled have led to strikes galore. Train guards are essential to the running of services, in an emergency and to assist the elderly and disabled. Timetable changes and cancelled trains have caused chaotic delays. Two disabled passengers with Disabled Railcards who needed a previously advertised direct (no change) train to go from Eastbourne to London Victoria and back, were told their planned 13 December 2018 trip would involve two trains and two buses for the return trip on 15 December. (Fortunately, unable to make the journey in those circumstances, their tickets were refunded in full). Beyond the UK it is a legal requirement for seniors and disabled to be assisted when getting on and off trains. Again and again the disabled find that despite arranging assistance well in advance and being assured it will be offered, no one is available when needed to help the disabled get off the train with its wide gap between the train and platform and/or assist with luggage. Also, It infuriates the disabled and elderly when those not qualified to sit in seats clearly marked for the elderly or disabled or heavily pregnant cannot sit there because passengers who are young, fit and able ignore the signs and occupy those seats, with no protecting legislation. This happens every day.
BBC's stoppage of Free TV for all over 75s is blatantly unfair
In June 2019 The BBC ended free-to-all- over 75sí TV and will implement this when it takes over TV Licensing from the government. For many pensioners this latest action by the Conservative government is the last straw, meaning just a very short tenure for the Conservative Party successor in July 2019 to current Prime Minister Theresa May.
In no other part of the world do people over pension age have to pay a TV tax, not even in Norway and the other European countries (but not elsewhere) that have a similar TV tax for younger viewers. TV taxes are almost completely confined to Europe. People in Canada and USA are aghast that we are taxed to watch TV until we are 75. Elsewhere, the CBC in Canada, the USA's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), National Public Radio and equivalents are free, with donations purely voluntary.
Unfortunately for all over 75s who presently qualify for free TV, the UK government has passed on its responsibility to collect the TV licence to the BBC. The BBC, which alone receives the income from the licence, not any of the other TV and broadcasting entities, now expects all over 75s, except the relatively few receiving Pension Credit, to stop getting free TV which also means they will no longer have free usage of laptops, ipads, notebooks and the like, even when those viewers do not watch any BBC television programs, Other TV channels do not receive a penny of the TV Licence fee, only the BBC gets it, so the BBC should not be allowed by Members of Parliament to become the regulatory authority to demand it. The BBC claims exclusivity of a TV tax on the basis of no BBC advertising but this is patently not true. It constantly advertises its own programmes on BBC TV channels.
To add insult to injury, the BBC, already paying its over-rated news announcers and personalities huge salaries out of the public purse that commercial stations cannot afford, announced in late 2018 that in 2019 it pays 30% more to its senior executives. Their salary increases, not basic salaries, will be up to £75,000 a year. The number of BBC managers earning more than £150,000 a year now exceeds 102. four more than in 2018 despite a public promise to reduce the number. In the USA alone we know the BBC earns millions of dollars from prominent commercial advertisers. This has been obvious to Britons holidaying in the Caribbean, where BBC services are routinely available from most Caribbean hotel rooms. The BBC receives over £800 million annually from franchising to over 80 countries, with programming such as its Strictly Come Dancing. It sells its UK taxpayer-paid programming world-wide, to rake in further millions. It just should not be allowed to get away with making the over 75s pay for watching television. To many of the over 75s, widows and widowers in particular and/or those disabled, watching TV at no cost to them is a major factor in helping to fend off loneliness. Stopping it now will be seen as a monumental anti-humanitarian action on the part of our Members of Parliament (MPs). The BBC has become a views, not news, service. Every day, journalists and others are asked to appear on a panel - and paid well for - to give their views - not news - on political and other events. It has become totally ridiculous. Also, we are fed programmes like Click, Film Review, the Travel Show and the Sunday morning Andrew Marr talk show that outlived their usefulness ages ago. The BBC's Newswatch is a nonsense. In theory it broadcasts complaints by viewers about the level, quality and impartiality of BBC news coverage. In fact, all it does, and only on one BBC channel, not on an independent non-BBC channel, is to get BBC-only managers to justify the way they are broadcast. Not once has there been an apology from the BBC on a Newswatch programme. The BBC claims falsely it follows a uniquely independent point of view in presenting its shows. It that was really the case then how can it justify its claim to its monopolistic TV Licensing Fee exclusivity? And every morning on BBC 1 we get a gaggle of giggling, simpering idiot presenters who talk to themselves mostly, or all talk at once, with their views not news, instead of to the audience. At night, before 11 pm, we get rubbish views but not news from political commentators and journalists, all of whom are paid far too much for offering so little. Why does the BBC waste UK taxpayers money not only in all the above but also in getting hundreds of staff speaking foreign languages to deliver BBC views and news to non-English-speaking countries abroad? The days are long over when the British Empire ruled over much of the world. Today, virtually all countries and islands big and small have their own TV, radio and other telecommunications services. There is no longer any justification in any possible way for all UK households to continue to have to pay the TV license fee tax solely to the BBC..
What is dreadful is that the UK's MPs, many of whom with their pensions and expenses all added to their basic salaries shown below, earn well over £100,000 a year - see https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/pay-mps/ - can claim the cost of their TV licences as expenses - can get the cost their TV licences refunded - at a time when many older and far less affluent pensioners over 75 years old have now had their exemptions axed. Millions of over 75s will now to pay £154.50 from the year 2020 to watch TV in the future after the because the government has handed over its responsibility for funding the concession solely over to the BBC. No wonder so many older people's groups have declared war on the BBC and the political parties which are not fighting this injustice. Councillors and MPs of the political party that want the BBC to become the regulatory agency are not going to be re-elected. Age UK and other agencies have pleaded in vain with MPs to right this wrong but have been ignored. The news has now been spread all over the world.
Beware of Sovereign Harbour's outrageous £290 in 2019 Annual Estate RentCharge
So say numerous estate agents. It applies nowhere else in the UK, Europe or the world, yet our Lib Dem MP and Conservative councillors will not help to get it revoked
Pensioners who seek to move to Sovereign Harbour and at the same time need or want to downsize not just in terms of size of a house or flat but also in recurring annual or monthly expenses such as council tax and other overheads, should beware of the unique annual Estate Rent Charge applicable in Sovereign Harbour, East Sussex. Why? Because, as shown in the website above, a number of law offices of repute warn you to beware of investing in a place with so many covenants and other restrictions. In Sovereign Harbour alone, nowhere else in the UK or Europe or the world, all freehold and leased homes or flats, whether whether worth £180,000 or £800,000, will cost you and those who later buy your property a covenanted Estate Rent Charge of £270 in 2018, increasable annually by the rate of inflation. Plus, Council Tax, even for a modest 2-bedroom flat, will also be much higher than equivalently-priced properties elsewhere in Eastbourne or beyond.
What makes it so additionally unfair is that only the 3,104 Sovereign Harbour residents concerned pay this flood charge, not the 14.000 residents also in the same flood area east of the harbour. And, if you plan on living in a certain part of Sovereign Harbour South, you will have to pay a further covenanted annual Water Feature charge of a type that exists nowhere else. And although all developments are private including the pathways and walkways, the public are free to roam anywhere, with their dogs and cycles, completely without charge, with only the residents having to pay.
Only when this Annual Estate Rentcharge is revoked will Sovereign Harbour be a much less expensive place in which to live. Until then, pensioners need to know that Sovereign Harbour requires you to pay appreciably more in overheads not found anywhere else in the UK. Even when other the few other places have an Estate Rent Charge, it is only nominal, £10 or so a year, not Sovereign Harbour's outrageous £270 a year. Our present Member of Parliament has not acted to help right this wrong, has not called for repeal of applicable legislation and covenants that exist nowhere else. The local community group which says it represents residents has never tried to take this case to Members of the European Parliament and beyond. Some residents are now making a formal complaint to European, North American and other authorities. Some also want the injustice and world uniqueness of the Estate Rent Charge to be brought to the attention of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, international press organizations and more.
A formal complaint about the injustice and unfairness of the Annual Estate Rentcharge was also made in September/October 2018 to the Government's Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, House of Commons, London SW1A GAA. Email email@example.com. Its members are Edward Beale, Clerk, email firstname.lastname@example.org; Jenny Burch, Second Clerk, email burchj@parliament; Tamsin Maddock, Committee Specialist, at email@example.com; Nick Taylor, Committee Specialist, email firstname.lastname@example.org; Tony Catinella, Senior Committee Assistant, email email@example.com and Eldon Gallagher, Committee Support Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org, It is incredible that with so many other things being legally amended or eliminated or eradicated in the interests of justice, there has been no change in this long-outstanding matter.
Now being referred to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and other entities in the UK and abroad.
Brexit ruined by Members of Parliament of all political parties
When the referendum was held in 2016 it was the (slim) majority wish of the British voting public that Britain should leave the European Union.
But none of the political parties in Parliament ever resolved to work together to come up with a deal. From the start they should have been required to co-operate as a cross-party entity to craft a deal, Instead, only the party in power - the Conservatives - came up with a (very faulty) deal, amid bitter and chronic internal division. It was presented to and accepted by the EU, before - astonishingly - being debated by Parliament and rejected by an overwhelming majority
All MPs of all political parties must share the blame equally for the bizarre situation facing us just a couple of months before Brexit occurs. In this respect, all Britain's political parties have collectively caused far more harm than good. Instead of governing with common sense they have become so adversarial that they have ruined the democratic process.
Instead of legislating in accordance with the wishes of the majority of their constituents, all they have done is to vote their own selfish political party wishes. In the debacle, the attitudes of many of us have hardened. Some of us who were Remainers have been so shocked by the inflexible attitude of the EU that we are now Leavers. None of this would have happened if the EU had been only a trade entity. But when it became such a political organization that it affected the currency, laws, immigration policies and more of every EU nation, it became intolerable to some. When then-Prime Minister David Cameron visited the EU in 2015 in an attempt to persuade the EU to give the UK a better deal, the EU ignored him, foolishly. It led to the referendum taking place in 2016. If any of the political parties concerned believe that the mess it helped to create with its constant negative carping and sniping over the last two years will lead to its victory or gains at the next general election, it better think again. Its actions have instead turned people off.
But they will not go to other parties, instead are fed up with them all for not having had the collective political will to act as decent parliamentarians to help the public come up with a deal. Without one, pensioners and others face potentially significant rises in their cost of living and more. itís no surprise that so many voters from all political parties feel that their voices arenít being heard or that the issues that affect their lives arenít being addressed.
Cyclists use Sovereign Harbour walkways instead of cycle paths
Throughout Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, nuisance cyclists, many not living in the harbour area but in nearby caravan parks, interfere daily with the safe passage of resident walking pedestrians.
Many are elderly and with limited mobility or disabled or have hearing problems. Cyclists believe wrongly they have an unrestricted right to cycle on both the narrow North Harbour beachfront pedestrian-only path (not a cycle path), which is not wide enough to let four people pass without giving way) and the wider inner harbour walkways. They also believe, again incorrect, they have the right of way and ring their bells to get walkers out of their way. Some cyclists even believe they have a right to ride two abreast. They deliberately avoid the less scenic but purpose-built cycle track shared pavement running the entire length of Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex Council, both with jurisdiction in this matter, have not acted to stop this abuse. Nor will the neighborhood panel, or the police, act. They must take action to stop this before elderly or disabled or deaf walkers get hurt by a cyclist.
Campaign to Save Our Buses continues
Many bus routes are being cut or eliminated.
Efforts continue to press the national government and councils to stop reducing or eliminating bus routes, one of the victims of ever-increasing council budget cuts despite the constant upward creep of council taxes. See the website at www.bettertransport.org.uk. Our own hourly bus service that once routinely went to Eastbourne General Hospital - so frequently used by pensioners and the disabled but no longer does so - is a case in point.
Cap on Energy Charges now irrelevant due to latest increases
Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) enacted in 2018 but are now meaningless.. Pensioners are the biggest single group paying standard tariffs (which have risen appreciably in cost in recent years). Those who pay them instead of annual less expensive fixed-rates will no longer, from 2019, get their costs hiked at the whim of energy suppliers. Changes will benefit all pensioners on standard tariffs who hitherto have been paying more to help subsidize younger people who get cheaper off-peak night charges.
But why do we still have to search on a yearly basis for the best energy deal? Fixed-rate tariffs may be better in one way but they still do not mean cheaper bills. The cost of electricity, averaging 18p per kilowatt hour plus a standing charge (surcharge), is outrageous compared to the USA's national average of US$0.11 cents per kilowatt hour.
Council Tax increases and Injustices go on and on
Council Taxes, for the fifth year running, are going up by an average of 3 percent, to the disgust of most consumers. Council taxes are described by leading newspapers as Britain's most hated taxes for nation-wide unfairness.
Pensioners wanting to downsize are particularly affected. As one example of a newspaper's condemnation, the Daily Telegraph published a comprehensive report in June 2016. Massive inequities since 1991 have been consistently ignored by all British Members of Parliament, irrespective of political party. They have not wanted in 27 years to change the system with its massively unfair practices.
Other countries are required by law to re-assess their property taxes every 3-5 years. The UK's present system of council taxes is manifestly unjust. It means that the highest Band H council tax banding in central London - for the most expensive multi-million central London properties there - pay much less in council taxes than properties worth only a fraction of the value of those £ multi-million lower-priced properties and in a much lower tax banding - Band E- in Eastbourne and elsewhere in the country. There has to be a council (property) tax on every property. But it has to be balanced, fair, equitable, logical and consistent. It should be a reliable indicator of the fair market value of a property including the house or flat or cottage or bungalow, land on which it sits, what outbuildings or garages there are. It should not matter for evaluation purposes whether the property is a house or flat or cottage or bungalow, exactly the same criteria should apply, instead of it being so discriminatory as it is now.
What should matter are the actual or accurately assessed market price, a legislative methodology to ensure the entire valuation system is reviewed regularly at least every five years, the assessment is open enough to ensure that every property bought and or sold routinely shows both its market price and its council or property tax on property particulars and by doing so avoid any accusation of discrimination, with the valuation of every property open for public inspection to achieve complete transparency. It should not be just a single isolated local authority tax but one mindful of and comparable with council taxes in other areas. It should have enough council tax banding width to easily ensure that unless a property is equal in total value to Buckingham Palace it should be council taxed at merely a fraction of the latter's council tax. And if/when market prices fall instead of going up, the property tax should also fall.
Unfortunately, no such fair, decent, consistent, regularly updated methodology applies to Council Taxes in Eastbourne. Instead, the Eastbourne Borough Council at www.eastbourne.gov.uk, and its East Sussex Council partner, with the approval of the British Government and all its 650 legislators, applies such a massively unfair council tax system that even small modest two bedroom flats with a market value of under £270,000 and no property-owned land at all pay appreciably more Council Tax than (a) other local properties with an often far higher market value and (b) 775-room Buckingham Palace in London, 90 miles away, worth about £980 million and other multi-million pound properties and their personal gardens in the most affluent areas of London.
As the latest examples of (a) in January 2019 a spacious penthouse 3 bedroom apartment in the affluent area of Silverdale Road, Lower Meads, Eastbourne, was advertised for sale at £385,000 showing Council Tax D but a 2 bedroom upper ground floor apartment on San Diego Way, Sovereign Harbour North, Eastbourne, worth much less, £260,000, has to pay a higher tax, in Council Tax Band E.
Disability laws compared to Europe, Canada, USA, etc.
UK disability laws need updating and improving to match disability laws elsewhere. Eastbourne and Brighton both in East Sussex are the two most disabled-unfriendly places in the entire UK. Disabled visiting Americans, Australians, Canadians, Europeans, etc shocked by how poor disabled laws and regulations are compared to their home countries.
Yet local disability groups are not demanding legislative changes. There is no comparison with the USA's powerful and effective Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) - see http://www.ada.gov or similar in Europe, Canada and beyond. (In Canada see http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/fda/1006). The lack of UK legislative teeth and the unwillingness of the police to act as law enforcement officers in Eastbourne area disability abuses has so infuriated some overseas visitors that they have complained internationally. We hear about them because our Eastbourne & Sovereign Harbour Disability Association at www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/ESHDisability.htm is networked with overseas groups, arising from the fact that several of its members have earlier lived and worked overseas where disability standards are both so much higher and regularly legally enforced.
All disabled visitors to the Eastbourne area from anywhere abroad who are long-used to disability provisions in their own countries being protected by law both in the public and private sectors, need to know that similar comprehensive disability laws do not apply here. We state this in our www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/ESHDisability.htm.
It needs to be noted that British visitors to those parts of the world who are not disabled but regularly abuse local disability laws because they can get away with it here in the UK are the worst offenders by a huge margin.
When we sent emails reporting visitors' complaints in Eastbourne to the Eastbourne access group, instead of being concerned enough to refer them to their councils and legislators in hope of action to remedy defects, all we got were complaints. Hopefully, the UK Parliament, when debating how European Law will be incorporated into UK law prior to Brexit, will EU-wide Disability laws to replace and give some legal teeth to very inferior UK disability provisions.
More calls for a Pets Charter to be introduced
Called for - and not by one political party but by those who support other political entities too - is a pledge to give leasehold tenants in both public and private buildings a default right to keep pets in the leased or rented properties. People say they want cross-party support to create or strengthen the rights of tenants to keep most smaller types of pets (cats, dogs, birds, etc). Many current leases and rental agreements presently deny that right completely. Many pensioners have - contrary to their landlord's leasehold requirements - cats or dogs, or fish in tanks or birds in cages as their only full-time companions.
But there must also be a proviso that all concerned who want such a Pets Charter - including pensioners and those who are disabled in out of wheelchairs - are physically able to clean up after their pets, both indoors and outdoors; will put their dogs on leashes when required by local ordnances; will walk them - and pick up their dog messes.
NHS news of a 10 year plan welcomed
But problems remain that need to be fixed.
The NHS is a terrific organization. The good news is that because of an increased budget for next year and beyond, the National Health Service has announced its new 10year plan with more staff to serve in communities. The bad news is that it still seems to be so wasteful in certain areas. One of them is in costs of medicines. We have been informed that instead of the NHS collectively ordering medicines for the entire NHS, most or all individual NHS Trusts do their own ordering, with little or no economies of scale that would result if there was one central body doing all the ordering.
And on another point, given the size and scope of the NHS as the nation's largest single employer, not merely involving thousands but hundreds of thousands of employees, surely it is time for an NHS University to train doctors, nurses and other NHS staff?
Surely also, it is about time that all who work at GP Practices become NHS employees instead of doctors being self-employed? Why is the NHS more costly than it should be? Surely, on graduating from an NHS or NHS-approved university, a newly qualified doctor should be required to be contracted for an appropriate period of time?
Once, patients at any NHS practice could count on one doctor attending to their needs for some appreciable time. Nowadays, in many practices, patients have to see different doctors each time. Also, despite the fact that so many thousands of patients, including pensioners, need to use the life-changing thyroid drug liothyronine, many are now denied it because it is deemed too expensive, after one of the pharmaceutical companies supplying it recently jacked up the price from 16p a tablet to the present NHS cost of £8.55 a tablet. Other competing companies offer prices only slightly lower. The Competition and Markets Authority - see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/competition-and-markets-authority - needs to investigate this outrageous increase in price of 5,663%. Its website indicates it has not done so yet.
We expect the NHS, which does so much good for so many people - to be able to get advantageous and competitive prices from manufacturers and we expect our government and its agencies, such as that particular one above, to act in the interests of consumers and our NHS. In this connection there is another serious matter.
Why are NHS hospital car parks, which are not run by the NHS but by private car park companies, being allowed to substantially increase their car park charges, with only a small portion of the proceeds going to the NHS? It's a rip-off!
Another problem, with no answers available yet, particularly affecting those who will be traveling to Europe is what is going to happen to their NHS-provided European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) after October 2019 when the UK finally exits the EU. The EHIC has been a huge relief to many travelers to Europe. They have been able to get the same level of free basic healthcare and hospitalization in the EU that the NHS in the UK provides.
National Trust's Essential Companion cards
This nice gesture from the National Trust is warmly welcomed. It enables any single necessary companion or carer of the card holder - who does not have to be a member of the National Trust and is often a pensioner with a recognized disability - to enter free of charge at any National Trust property in England or National Trust for Scotland. Normal membership or admission fee applies to the cardholder. This card is for the cardholder's use only, is not transferable, valid for one year at a time and must be presented by the cardholder at the time of admission to each NHS property.
Law Commission's proposed Leasehold Reform must finally right many wrongs
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. New government initiatives to modernize living conditions must be implemented. Many affect pensioners and young people living in Sovereign Harbour and elsewhere. One is Commonhold instead of Leasehold. Those living in leasehold not freehold properties are asked by the Law Commission to consider the advantages of commonhold over leasehold, such as ownership not expiring so the costly procedure of lease extension does not arise; management responsibility rests exclusively with a commonhold association made up of unit holders - and more. Other proposals are also being debated some of which may affect and benefit the thousands of leaseholders in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. Comments to email@example.com. Phone 020 3334 5333 or write to Rachel Preston, Law Commission, 1st Floor, Tower, 52 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AG.In October 2018 a report from these authors was emailed, highlighting inequities in Sovereign Harbour freehold and leasehold premises.
But so far some really serious issues have still not been addressed. Much more is required, such as finally resolving Sovereign Harbour's unique unjust and unfair Annual Estate Rentcharge shown separately earlier. And as merely two examples of further reforms needed to finally right other wrongs, why are garages underneath multi-story residential buildings of flats - occupied by only some of their tenants - required to be subsidized by all tenants but when such buildings have lifts, only their tenants have to pay an additional annual maintenance charge? If lifts are not regarded as common-to-all property, why are their garages? There are are a number of other outdated issues affecting tenants in flats that need to be fixed.
Social Care unfairness of Councils
The current social care system used by local authorities throughout the UK cheats residents, unlike the methodology long-used in the European Community
Further (6th) delay for Social Care Green Paper originally pledged in 2017.
There, National Health Service and Local Authority equivalents were long ago integrated and treat all citizens fairly and equally. In bleak contrast, here in the UK those with total assets including their homes not exceeding £23,500 are given NO local authority funding or support while others can get up to 100% local authority funding. Scandinavian and other European countries are appalled by this callousness towards the elderly here in the UK. A new type of social care system Ė a combination of National Health and Social Care Service Ė integrated with the NHS and funded through general taxation, is called for, urgently.
What we really need now here in the UK is a tax-funded National Care Service that can cater to all with care needs, not just the people below the minimum total assets threshold described earlier, along the lines of what has happened beyond England. The current system of social care funding is grossly unfair and needs revision as a matter of urgency.A few years ago, the Scottish Government introduced it throughout Scotland and while not perfect, it is working. The rest of the UK should, too. See http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Policy/Health-Social-Care-Integration and http://isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Health-and-Social-Community-Care/Health-and-Social-Care-Integration/ and https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/integrated-care-northern-ireland-scotland-and-wales. See What it Means in Scotland, at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2013/05/16/what-integration-with-health-means-for-scotlands-social-workers/ and our own summary about this at www.sovereignharbourgazette.org.uk/Integratedservices.htm.
Travel Insurance for elderly with medical conditions is outrageously priced
More than 15 million people so affected are unfairly treated by travel insurers. Those issued by Santander and its travel insurer Chubb were singled out in a The Times newspaper report of 6 October 2018, page 65. The Financial Conduct Authority, the industry regulator, has noted how those with medical conditions face a lack of transparency around policies and have great difficulty finding competitively-priced insurance. In future comments, we will show what options could and should be available to those who may need them, as well as those not always needed, such as repatriation home in the event of death. Only in the UK do citizens have such a hard and expensive time in getting travel insurance. Canadian, American, European and other travelers can get travel insurance inexpensively.
Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) not increased since 2012
A universal age-related benefit not means-tested. it once enabled UK-resident pensioners or those of pension age to recoup about a third of the cost of their heating and lighting costs.
Now it is less than one sixth. Yet in comparison, local government council taxes, Members of Parliament salaries, fuel costs and overall costs-of-living, to quote just three examples, have collectively risen by at least 5% a year for each year since 2012. The injustice of this by the government should not continue to be overlooked. Fuel poverty affects over 40% of all pensioners. True, there are some who can afford to give the WFA to the NHS as Dame Esther Rantzen has suggested. But most pensioners of moderate means or lower cannot. It is worrying that this matter seems to have completely either escaped the attention of, or is deliberately not being addressed by, local, regional and national senior associations and groups concerned about conditions affecting the elderly.
Keith also writes
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© 2019. Revised: June 15, 2019