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What the controversial new social care changes mean for you and your family

Despite backlash, the Prime Minister has insisted the reform will ‘benefit the people of this country’

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@langballe / Unsplash & Number 10 / Flickr

A controversial social care reform has been backed by MPs this week, despite warnings that the move will impact poorer people across England.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the reform is ‘incredibly generous’, Labour and other opposition parties have rejected the plan, as have nineteen Conservative MPs, who have each rebelled against the government over the move.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also labeled the reform, which received 272 votes to 246, as unfair, pointing out that social care funded by wealth taxes and a 10% levy on estates ‘is the way to go’. 

But what will the social care reform mean for you and your family?

Back in September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a cap on care costs for adults in England starting from October 2023, with the promise of a £86,000 limit on how much an individual has to pay over their lifetime.

And this week, the government announced it was introducing an amendment to the reforms which will mean that those with less than £20,000 in assets – the value of their home, savings or investments – will not have to pay anything from these towards care fees (although they might have to pay from their income).

Those with more than £100,000 in assets, on the other hand, will not receive any financial help from their local council.

@langballe / Unsplash

Alternatively, those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will qualify for council help, but will have to pay £86,000 out of their own pocket to reach the cap. 

The reform has sparked concerns that those living in poorer areas with less valuable homes will be impacted, with many believing the richest people will see a greater share of their assets protected.

Others have voiced worries that those who are less well-off could even be forced to use up their savings or sell their home to pay for their care later on in life.

Despite concerns by opposition parties and MPs, however, Johnson has insisted that the new system is an improvement and ‘more generous’ than what is currently in place. 

Number 10 / Flickr

Speaking at the CBI annual conference yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “It is in fact more generous than some of the original proposals of Andrew Dilnot because it helps people not just who are in residential care but also people who benefit from domiciliary care as well.

“We are finally tacking a problem that has bedevilled this country for decades, been very, very unfair on people who have got dementia or Alzheimer’s and been forced to face catastrophic, ruinous costs for that care when somebody who has cancer or some other affliction does not.

“We are addressing a long-standing social injustice and it will benefit the people of this country.”

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People who kill children will face mandatory life sentences under new Arthur’s Law

The law has been named after six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was murdered by his stepmother last year

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@BorisJohnson / Twitter

The Prime Minister has backed a newly proposed law that will ensure child murderers will never leave prison.

Following the horrifying death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Boris Johnson has announced that his government will be amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to make ‘whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes’. 

Johnson said in a statement: “Anyone who plans then carries out the murder of a child should never be released from prison. So we’re toughening the law to make whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes.

“The Attorney General is also urgently considering the facts of this case and the sentence handed down, but this is a Government that will always legislate for the toughest possible sentences for such repugnant crimes.”

Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin was jailed last week for at least twenty-nine years for his murder, while his father Thomas Hughes was sentenced to twenty-one years for manslaughter.

However, the attorney general announced over the weekend that the sentences are to be reviewed to ‘determine whether they were too low’. 

According to The Guardian, the AGO has twenty-eight days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the court of appeal. 

West Midlands Police

Arthur died in Solihull, Midlands on June 16th 2020, as a result of a serious head injury inflicted by Tustin. His body was also covered in 130 bruises.

It was later discovered that the six-year-old had been starved, beaten and poisoned with salt in the weeks leading to his death.

Harrowing footage recently released by West Midlands Police show a weak and emancipated Arthur struggling to lift his duvet from the living room floor, where he had been forced to sleep. 

Social worker and member of the House of Lords Herbert Laming said the reduction in funding for social care in the last ten years meant abused and neglected children like Arthur were being missed by the authorities. 

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Woman seriously injured after being attacked by four of her own dogs

Armed police officers, fire crews and an ambulance were called out to diffuse the situation

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On The Market & Postdlf / Wikimedia Commons

A woman in St Helens has been left seriously injured after being mauled by what is believed to be four of her own dogs.

Merseyside Police were called out to the Sutton area at around 10am yesterday, December 6th, following reports of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, each of which were initially described as bulldogs.

Armed response officers, Merseyside fire service crews and an ambulance were also sent to the scene. 

The four dogs have been seized and the woman remains in hospital with ‘serious’ injuries, Merseyside Police said.

The force added in a statement: “Emergency services are in attendance in Sutton today, Monday 6 December.

“At around 10.15am, police were called to the Reginald Road area to a report of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, initially described as bulldogs.

“The woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police.

Lancashire Police / Facebook

“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing. Anyone who has any information is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC or 101 with reference 21000844839.”

The woman’s neighbours have since been describing the scene, with one telling the Liverpool Echo: “You should have seen it before, the whole street was filled with police, ambulance and everything, it was mad.”

Another resident down the street noted: “It’s normally a nice estate so it’s obviously really surprising when something like this goes on.”

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Government to review Omicron Covid rules on December 21st

The rules are expected to stay in place until the new year

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Number 10 / Flickr & Gov.uk

The rules and regulations brought in to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will reportedly be reviewed on December 21st.

According to new reports today, while the rules will be reviewed four days before Christmas Day, they are unlikely to be lifted and will instead be kept in force until the new year.

It has also been suggested that the government’s Plan B – which will enforce mandatory masks in pubs and restaurants and advice to work from home – is not yet needed. 

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

A Government source told the MailOnline: “In terms of Plan B, we are not there yet. The ambition is that people can have a much more normal Christmas than last year.

“That depends on what the data shows about the new variant. But certainly the hope is that things stay as they are in the next couple of weeks.”

The current rules mean face masks in shops, hairdressers, banks and post offices are now mandatory, as well as on public transport.

The rules also require anyone who comes into contact with someone who tests positive for Omicron to quarantine for ten days – even those who are fully vaccinated.

arturo-rey/Unsplash

However, a Sage scientist recently said the new variant is ‘not a disaster’, and that ‘some people may be ‘hugely overstating the situation’.

Microbiologist Prof Calum Semple says vaccines are ‘still likely to protect you from severe disease’, telling BBC Breakfast: “This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.

“Immunity from the vaccination is still likely to protect you from severe disease. You might get a snuffle or a headache or a filthy cold but your chance of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are greatly diminished by the vaccine and still will be going into the future.”

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