Parliamentary sketch – When the cap doesn’t fit!

Posted on: 18th July 2013

It’s right for any government to put a reasonable cap on welfare benefits.  It would be wrong for tax payers struggling on a low income to find that others on out-of-work benefits were earning more and struggling less.

But if a cap is placed on the welfare benefit bill then it should equally be placed on the £million cheques of tax payer money paid to very large landowners through the Single Farm Payment!  Lots of tax payer’s money could be saved by placing the proposed €300,000 cap on payments to wealthy landowners who don’t need it. In fact the savings would contrast well with placing a £500 weekly limit on benefit recipients.  But this Government is opposed to a cap on payments to the very wealthy!

The Welfare Secretary who is introducing the benefit cap lives on an estate that has received over €1.5 million in tax payer funded income support.  Governments never look clever when they appear to be applying double standards.

But, once again, the Westminster Village has been dominated by debate on its own ‘national religion’; i.e. the NHS.  A damning 1500 page report on failings at 14 NHS Hospital Trusts showed how this led to up to 13,000 needless deaths since 2005.  The scandal at Mid Staffordshire Hospital was not a “one-off”.

This closely follows figures published at the weekend which show that patient outcomes at Treliske Hospital were 25% worse at the weekend than during weekdays.

What these figures – and those of the Mid Staffs – should also point to is the need for safe registered nurse staff levels.  This is a campaign I have been strongly supporting.  The Safe Staffing Alliance has made the case for at least one registered nurse for every eight patients on our acute hospital wards.  You should ask when you’re in hospital what the staffing levels are.

Before all this becomes a pointless party political war about whose hands the NHS is safe in, there is a need for all parties to come together to address the findings of these recent studies.

Meanwhile, as MPs hope to get back to their constituencies to join the general public in overcoming national Vitamin D deficiency (without the risk of overdosing on this unexpected sunny spell) they will come under close questioning about the prospect of a future pay rise.  Those who can don the hairiest of hair shirts by denouncing a proposal they have no power to resist will no doubt win the hearts of the nation…


Andrew George MP

Kernow a’n West ha Syllan

West Cornwall and the Scillies

Kwartron Porthia

Constituency of St Ives

Tel:  01736 360020

Fax:  01736 332866


16th July 2013