A letter a day to number 10. No 1,293
Tuesday 22 December 2015.
Dear Mr Cameron,
As a starting point for this letter I’d like to say, life is magnificent and a wonder. That’s not something I see in the news very often and never from a Tory. What we get from you and your government is the monochrome drudgery of neoliberal monetarism from people who know the price of everything and the value of absolutely nothing and that very much includes life itself.
In February next year Tendring district council in Essex apparently want to introduce a ‘falling fee’, or more correctly a lifting tax (old folks get the falling part for free apart from the distress and possible hurt) for elderly people who have a fall and need assistance because they are unable to get up unaided.
Conservative councillor for Tendring, Paul Honeywood, claims they need the £26 charge in order to continue to offer a ‘lifting service’. “Having consulted users, we have discovered there is a demand – and the idea is now going through the budget process with a final decision to be made in February,” he said.
Award-winning campaigner, columnist and author Jack Monroe phoned a former colleague in the fire service to garner his opinion of this lifting tax to which he responded with expletives and ‘anecdotes of broken hips and shattered wrists and ribs smashed on the sides of bathtubs, and how dealing with them needed the professional care that comes of regular first-aid training and having a paramedic on hand’.
I cannot imagine that the lifting tax will cover such care and Monroe’s advice to elderly people is, “Elderly people, save your pennies and buy a £10 mobile phone. Stick it in your pocket, and if you should find yourself needing to be picked up and nobody else can get into your home, 999 is – and will always be – free to call.”
To any monochrome monetarists who might wonder how we can afford such care (it all costs money you know) elderly people did not cause the financial crisis nor your ideologically imposed austerity, many of them having fought for a country that now penalises them, having paid taxes all their lives to be abandoned on the kitchen floor in old age if they haven’t paid the lifting tax. There is no shortage of money in Britain, it’s just in the wrong place as Sheila Gilmore MP put it, the skewed distribution of real wealth, “is not a recent phenomenon but simply the logical and predictable outcome of both the hereditary class system and the capitalist style of economy.” As an inheritor of wealth that makes you part of the problem and certainly no part of any solution.