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Views of the week: 18 February 2010

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

Lord Sutherland in The Times on why the Scottish free care scheme has worked

The rise in Scottish and English public expenditure over the past 10 years has been the same, despite the introduction of free personal care north of the border.

The Scottish system is not perfect, but the national care service there has achieved real progress towards a single assessment process. Care packages can be taken from one authority to another — something on a wish list in England.

Most importantly, there is agreement on the importance of social care in the wider scheme of national priorities. In England the treatment of the frailties of old age are only examined after other ailments have been taken care of. Scotland shows that a mature discussion is possible about these topics.

Joan Bakewell in The Daily Telegraph on care as a political football

The transformation of the issue of care for the old and needy into a political football does no service to the electorate and to the thousands of frail old people. The Tory poster phrase “death tax” is a loaded and menacing term, which grossly distorts the situation.

British people believe they have a right to leave their homes to their children. But if the choice is between living in deprivation and possibly squalor and keeping your legacy intact or leaving less to your children and enjoying the comforts of old age, which would you prefer?

The Daily Telegraph on the case for a mixed approach

The best solution to the social care conundrum is for the state to provide a minimum level of care, which individuals could augment. Whatever system is eventually agreed upon should not penalise savers, impose an excessive burden on families or prescribe particular forms of care. Each family has its own set of circumstances.

It is just as legitimate to care for a relative in your own home or to share a part-time carer, as to seek professional care from a home. This problem needs a serious, cross-party approach if it is to be solved.

The Guardian calls for a serious debate

David Cameron should be made to regret his poster campaign against the government’s social care proposals. It would be refreshing if the politicians could do what the care professionals are begging for - initiate a serious, informed debate around realistic, costed options so the next government has the authority to act.

Pick of the blogs

Experimenting with the online presentation of a Bill

UK Parliament Labs

We have posted an experimental version of the Digital Economy Bill on a separate website so we can experiment with the online presentation of a bill.

This latest version allows you to move from the clauses of the bill to the section of the act the clause will affect. We have also made improvements to the layout of the interwoven bill and explanatory notes.

There are still formatting and presentation issues on some browsers - for best results try Firefox or Safari.

Tell us what you think. Do you find this version of the bill helpful? Does it help you carry out your work? Does it help you understand the purpose and content of the bill? How can we improve the presentation of the explanatory notes? What else could we do to make it easier for you to work with these bill documents and make them serve your needs better?

Contact: webmaster@parliament.uk

The full version of the blog appeared on www.parliamentlabs.wordpress.com/

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