Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A HUNG PARLIAMENT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR SOCIAL CARE?

THE DECISION TO HOLD A SNAP ELECTION?

Clearly the decision to hold a snap election was not because of the on going crisis in the elderly care system which is caused by too much demand and too little funding. 


THE ISSUES IN SOCIAL CARE? 

A long list could be compiled.  These include self funders paying 43% more for the same care bed as compared with somebody funded by a Local Council. The quality of care failing the “Mum test”. The minimum wage in the sector going up, but some cash starved councils only paying the equivalent of £2.25 per hour. Care homes charging for rooms after a resident’s death, not to mention a fear of complaining in case care homes serve notices to quit on residents.  The list could go on. 


DOES A NEW GOVERNMENT OF WHATEVER COLOUR HAVE AN ELDERLY CARE AGENDA? 

The answer is yes. Each of the main three parties has a different solution:-

The Conservatives say that you must pay for your social care from your assets to include your house until you having only £100,000 remaining. This is subject to a CAP on the maximum anybody should pay for their care. The amount of the CAP is unknown. 

The Labour party propose that £8bn is put into social care over the next five years and that a National Care service be set up whilst the liberal Democrats propose a 1p increase on income tax, with the money raised being applied to both the NHS and social care.

WHAT NEXT AS A RESULT OF A HUNG PARLIAMENT?

The issue of social care reform is now likely to be placed into the too difficult box meaning that none of the manifesto proposals will get implemented. That said the Green Paper  proposed by the previous Conservative administration may well be produced but because of lack of consensus and like the previous 21 Green and White papers over the last 20 years it will be kicked into the long grass.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO DO?

Understand the existing rules under The Care Act 2014 and proceed accordingly. Waiting or doing nothing in relation to social care is not the best option. This approach, with this issue, only results in people not being organised and their care costing more.


If you want to know more then for a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering  email Andrew Douglas or his team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636. Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

AWDRY BAILEY & DOUGLAS SOLICITORS ARE PROUD TO BE THE LEAD SPONSOR AND SUPPORT FAMILY FUN DAY EVENT, CHIPPENHAM

SUMMER FUN IN JOHN COLES PARK AT THE FAMILY FUN DAY! 

Chippenham Town Council will host the free Family Fun Day in John Coles Park on Sunday 18 June 12 noon – 4 pm which is supported this year by Awdry Bailey & Douglas Solicitors.

Following on from the success of this event last year, the Family Fun Day returns with lots more exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. The MC for the day Andy Thatcher from Chippenham FM will lead everyone through the entertainment. Dance performances by local groups the Clogettes, Dancing Academy and Phoenix Dance Club will take place on the bandstand between 12 noon and 2 pm.

THE LINE-UP

The line-up also includes a petting zoo from Dave and Ewe, a circus skills workshop by Clare’s Circus and a display by South Wilts Falconry. Chippenham Museum will showcase objects and costumes from their collection and back by popular demand will be an assault course, bouncy castles and Stanley Park will host the inflatable football pitch in partnership with Swindon Town FC Football in the Community. Don’t forget the hours of fun at the Splash pad!!

STANDS

A selection of local charities and community groups will be joining in the fun, each with an information stand with activities and games to have a go at such as face painting, tombola, lucky dip and many more including the Awdry Bailey & Douglas stand with Hoopla!
This year, parking will be limited to blue badge holders only. Visitors are urged to leave the car at home, if possible, and to walk, cycle or use public transport. Those who do have to drive are asked to use the nearby public car parks rather than the residential roads close to the park.

QUOTES


Adrian Jones, Deputy Chief Executive, Chippenham Town Council said “We have built on the success of this event last year, with lots more activities this year. We work hard to develop our relationship with local charities and communities so we are really pleased that many of them will be taking part in the day with us” 

Tom Paget, Associate Solicitor, Awdry Bailey & Douglas said “We are delighted to be supporting and taking part in this Family Fun Day, there will be something for all the family to enjoy”

Councillor Mary Norton, Mayor of Chippenham said “ We all look forward to this free family event, we are hoping for good weather so lots of families come with friends and enjoy the afternoon, maybe even bring a picnic”

For more information about this event contact http://www.chippenham.gov.uk/http://www.chippenham.gov.uk/

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

CAN YOU AFFORD TO RIP?


· Benjamin Franklin is attributed as saying “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes”. Although the former American founding father is only attributed with this famous quote, one thing today which is certain is that the cost of a funeral is forever rising.

· In 1992 the average cost of a funeral was said to have been £950.  In 2005 it was £3,456 whilst in 2016 it was predicted to have risen to £4,194 and is still rising.

· One of the reasons for the increase is because local councils are trying to offset the cost of cemeteries and crematoria.  This is because of budget pressures elsewhere, not least of which is the cost of adult social care. It is reported that cremation and burial fees have risen by more than inflation in eight out of ten local council areas. The average increase is said to be more than 5%

· This increase converts to average burial fees being £1,755 and cremation fees being £714.  Some say that the increases are akin to a stealth tax. The increases in cost are intended to cover the cost of plots, chapels of rest and ground maintenance.

· A partial solution to the ever rising cost of funerals, allowing you to RIP is to buy your future funeral package at a fixed price today meaning that you do not have to worry about future increasing prices.

· There are two types of funeral plan, being either a whole of life insurance policy which typically takes the form of monthly payments meaning the plan is worth whatever the plan is worth when you die. The alternative is a lump sum payment now for the actual cost of your funeral. Your money is paid into a trust which if regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority guarantees your funeral costs at whatever the price is whenever you die. 

· Whether you want a basic, average or luxury funeral a funeral plan is something which everybody over 50 needs to at least consider.

· The above is an overview only.  For a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his  team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636.  Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk


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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

ROTARY CHARITY GOLF CLASSIC EVENT 2017

Awdry Bailey & Douglas Solicitors was proud to support and take part in the annual Rotary Charity Golf Classic event at Manor House Golf Club, Castle Combe last week in aid of Julia’s House Charity. 

A fantastic amount of over £10,000 was raised on behalf of Julia’s House, a local charity based in Devizes that provides a vital service to children in Wiltshire with life limiting and terminal illness, both at home and also in their hospice.

Organised by The Rotary Club of Chippenham, this successful event took place at the spectacular Manor House Golf Club, Castle Combe which nestles in 365 acres of rich parkland and is regarded as the “hidden golfing gem in the Cotswold's”.

A super day was had by all including ABD team: Tim Hotchkiss (ABD Partner), Alexander David  (ABD Partner) also Simon Ewings and Richard Brooks from Monahans. 

For more information and photos go to
https://www.facebook.com/pg/chippenhamrotary/posts/

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

DO CARE HOMES CLOSE?



·        Given the ever growing demand for elderly care services, Care Homes perhaps surprisingly close at an alarming rate. A principle reason is the lack of resources that local authorities have to meet need, combined with the government’s sticking plaster approach to reform and making good.

·        In 2016 some 144 Care Homes plus closed. Additionally and reportedly 58 of the closures provided less than three months notice to their residents. Given that we are one of the very richest nations in the world this cannot be right.

·        One reason so many Homes close quickly is because when they make their decision to close, staff leave quickly meaning a Home cannot stay open.

·        When a Home closes stress for the residents and their families is inevitable. New Homes have to be found and in the process the vulnerable suffer. Many say the stress harms the health of the frail because they are taken away from carers who residents inevitably develop close relations with.

·        The reason many Homes are closing is because Councils are driving down the fees that they are willing to pay, whilst the Homes themselves are enduring unprecedented rises in running costs largely because of increases in the minimum wage. What we do know is that the Tories if they get back into power will publish a Green Paper in the autumn on the future of adult social care.

·        There seems to be very little good news to report in the sector largely because those with influence and power have been unwilling to make political decisions about what needs to be done.  There is also a lack of ideas making discussion at the top difficult to start.  Let us hope that our new government can find the time and the inclination to properly overhaul a situation which demands reform and is a disgrace to our nation.

·        The above is an overview only.  For a FREE appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his  team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636.  Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID SO FAR ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ADULT SOCIAL CARE IN THIS ELECTION?


· The Tories as expected want to talk about BREXIT and to an extent the other parties have to follow their lead. There are of course other issues, not least of which is the future of adult social care, which ultimately will require political decisions to be made.

· So far not much has been said, but then the manifestos have not been published. Who knows what will be in the manifestos on this subject when no party is committed to actual proposals for reform and there is no big idea.

· What we do know is that the Tories if they get back into power will publish a Green Paper in the autumn on the future of adult social care.

· Ideas that have been talked about so far by politicians and other interested parties include:-

1. Requiring people to ring-fence some of the value in their properties to pay for social care received in their lifetime.  The sum of £70,000 has been articulated which of course is the same number as the proposed CAP on how much anybody would have to pay for their care in their lifetime  recommended by Andrew Dilnot in his report prior to the last election.
2. Encouraging people to invest in insurance products and bespoke ISA’s to pay for care.  The only problem with this at present is that no products currently exist combined with the fact that the insurance industry has no appetite for an insurance based solution.
3. People sacrificing on a compulsory basis part of their income and/or paying National insurance contributions beyond the age of retirement. This solution will of course impact most on the less well off in society and at present the politicians don’t have an appetite for imposing this solution on their electorate.

· Given the ageing demographic, which in other situations should be a celebration let us hope that there will be some blue sky thinking by somebody with influence and power.  In particular that any original thought extends beyond loosening the triple lock pension guarantee and integrating the NHS system with adult social care.  Something more is certainly required. Hopefully something constructive will appear in the manifestos of the main parties, which push starts  a political debate and provides a constructive solution.

· The above is an overview only.  For a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering  and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his  team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on 0800 072 8636.  Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk
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Friday, 21 April 2017

THE DEATH KNELL FOR THE DEATH TAX

Is it a “U turn” or something else?


The predicted “Death Knell” in the governments intended death tax happened last night.  The savage rises in probate fees are no more, or at least for the present!

The coup de grace took place yesterday when ministers announced that they would not be pushing ahead in this parliament with proposals to increase probate fees which in some instances would see them rise by as much as 129 times more than at present.  See earlier blogs for the detail on the intended graded system.

“The Non – Contentious Probate Fees Order” which provided for the increases, was thrown into disarray just prior to the Easter break.  This was because the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments savaged the proposals by saying that because the proposals were more akin to tax increases than fee increases the Lord Chancellor could not proceed because she did not have the power to do so.

As a consequence lawyers and other interested parties were preparing for a possible judicial review if the measures were pushed through.

The government does of course make no admissions about a “U turn” and simply says that because of the snap election decision there is not enough parliamentary time left to allow the issue to get onto the statute books. Whether the fee increases will re emerge if the government is re elected remains to be seen? At present this seems unlikely especially as the present Lord Chancellor does not appear to have the respect of the judges and therefore may not be re appointed in any event.

That said the proposals if made law could have raised £300 million pounds. So where will this loss in revenue now come from?  Clearly wait and see but not until after the election. That said for most people yesterdays apparent “U turn” will be good news for many.

The above is an overview only.  For a free appointment and to find out answers to the questions that need answering  and to get the care you or a loved one need email Andrew Douglas or his team on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call on    0800 072 8636.  Alternatively visit our website www.abdcare.co.uk