On Monday night the Conservatives passed a controversial Health and Social Care Bill in the Commons, bringing in huge changes to social care and how the NHS is run in the UK.
A large rebellion in the Tory party meant the bill only passed with a majority of 26, well below the government’s 80-seat majority, with a large number of newly elected ‘red wall’ MPs in the north choosing to either vote against the bill or abstain entirely.
The bill has been widely criticised on both sides of the political spectrum for its changes to social care, which include a new controversial cap on lifetime care costs that disproportionately benefit wealthier pensioners and homeowners in the south.
Critics of the bill include cap architect economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, who first came up with the idea. Earlier this month, the economist told Sky News that the cap would ‘hit the poorest hardest’ and create a north-south divide in England.
This is in part because the £86,000 cap only takes into account an individuals’ personal contribution, and disqualifies any benefits payments from local authorities. The economist also said that ‘lower value houses’ in the north would create a divide.
As property costs in Manchester lie below the national average, the new reforms mean that pensioners in the region will lose out disproportionately.
Pensioners with assets of £186,000 upwards will be able to ensure their family inherit the majority of their property, whilst those with £106,000 or less will lose out significantly – both compared to the current system and the one that was initially proposed in September.
Previously, the Prime Minister had promised that no one would have to sell their home to pay for care.
Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for North Yorkshire constituency Thirsk and Malton, told MPs: “There is no doubt that the way the cap works for those with more modest assets is less generous. How can that be fair?”
Labour Health spokesperson Justin Madders, meanwhile, called the bill a ‘betrayal’, telling the Commons that ‘thousands of people in each constituency, mainly in the Midlands and the north of England, […] will be forced to sell their homes whilst those in the more affluent areas of the country will get to keep theirs.”
“That’s not fairness. That’s not fixing social care. That is a betrayal.”
The Prime Minister has previously denied that the bill disadvantages those in the north, claiming that it is a “massive improvement for everybody in the whole country” as it puts an end to people paying unlimited quantities for care.
Feature image – Parliament TV
Irish pub in Altrincham closed by police for ‘offering sexual services’
A pub in Altrincham has been ordered to close after a police raid today found it was being used to ‘offer sexual services for reward’.
Officers also found that a vulnerable woman had been trafficked from outside Trafford to work at The Railway.
The traditional Irish pub on Manchester Road has been ordered to close for three months.
Two people have been arrested for crimes relating to prostitution for gain.
The news follows a raid where officers found ‘significant evidence’ that the pub’s premises were being used to offer sexual services.
Photos shared by Greater Manchester Police show a closure order being taped to The Railway’s front door.
It reads: “These premises have been issued with a closure order to prevent nuisance and disorder.
“Trafford Community Safety Partnership takes action to protect local communities from the harm caused by crime and anti-social behaviour.”
A statement from GMP says: “Officers from GMP have carried out a search warrant on the Railway Pub on Manchester Road in Altrincham accompanied by colleagues from Trafford Council’s Community Safety Team.
“Significant evidence was found on the premises indicating that the premises were being used to offer sexual services for reward and a vulnerable woman, trafficked from outside Trafford to work there was found on the premises.
“Two persons have been arrested for crimes relating to controlling prostitution for gain and today, the Magistrates issued an order on application from the council closing the premises for three months. A review of the premises license will now be requested.”
The Railway reopened as an Irish bar in 2021 following a fire in late 2020.
Consumer watchdog orders Tesco to make Clubcard prices ‘clearer’ in stores
Tesco is to start making Clubcard Prices “even clearer” in stores across the UK after a row with the leading consumer watchdog.
The supermarket‘s Clubcard loyalty scheme has more than 20 million people signed-up nationwide, making it one of the most popular of its kind on the market, by far – but over the coming weeks, members will start to see changes in the way Clubcard Prices are displayed when they’re shopping in Tesco stores.
That’s because, the retailer has been told to make the prices “even clearer” by the UK’s leading consumer watchdog.
It’s all to do with unit pricing, as Which? had said that Tesco’s decision not to display this on its Clubcard offers could, essentially, be breaking the law.
Tesco has been ordered to make Clubcard prices ‘clearer’ in stores / Credit: The Manc Group
According to BBC claims, Which? reported Tesco to the regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in June of last year, as competition rules state that unit prices could be seen as “material information”.
This means that they’re something most people would need in order to make an informed decision about how to get the best value from what they by.
But while Tesco apparently said at the time that Which?’s claims were “ill-founded”, it looks to have changed its tune now, as the supermarket’s bosses have this week announced that unit prices will now be displayed in stores.
Consumer watchdog Which? said the supermarket could be breaking the law unless it displayed ‘unit prices’ / Credit: The Manc Group
Tesco’s UK CEO Jason Tarry said the retailer is “working harder than ever” to help make sure customers get “great value” when they shop in stores nationwide.
“We want our customers to be able to see just how well these offers stack up,” Mr Tarry said.
“If you are in store, you will now start to see that the way that we display our Clubcard Prices will not only show the total price, but also the unit price of the product (by volume or weight), to allow a direct comparison of the price per unit between the Clubcard Prices offer and the price of alternative products.”
The changes will start being introduced in all UK stores over the coming weeks / Credit: Tesco plc
Mr Tarry claims this is something Tesco’s been “planning to do for some time”, and is “pleased” the retailer is now ready to make the change.
He continued: “Over the coming weeks, these changes will appear in all our stores, as our colleagues update millions of price labels on the shelf edge, and we will also be adding these unit prices to our Clubcard Prices deals online.