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Legislative Outlook 2010-11 (Part 5 of 6)

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[Continued from Legislative Outlook 2010-11 (Part 4 of 6)]

(6) Healthcare

(a) Health Bill

The main elements of the Bill are:

  • To establish an "independent NHS Board" to allocate resources and provide "commissioning guidance". The coalition has said the Board's funding will be protected through "ring fenced budgets" and allocations will be weighted towards the most disadvantaged areas through payment of a "health premium". Ultimately, the plan is for local NHS organisations to then spend the allocations. They will, however, work closely with "local authorities, voluntary organisations and local business", who will be paid on a performance basis to improve public health.

  • To allow GPs to commission services on behalf of their patients, apparently to cut down on administration. The coalition will also introduce new "incentives" for GPs to prioritise preventative measures.

  • To strengthen the role of the Care Quality Commission and develop Monitor into an economic regulator to oversee aspects of "access and competition" in the NHS.

(b) Social Care

The government intends to establish an independent Commission to ensure a "fair partnership between the state and the individual" in relation to social care, which takes into account the "vital role of families and carers".  The commission will report within a year.

(7) Immigration

Read for a proper analysis of the coalition's immigration policy. The most publicised element is the implementation of an entering the UK "to live and work".

(8) Welfare/Social Security

(a) Welfare Reform Bill

This Bill is expected to increase penalties for those that refuse to take a job. The first time someone refuses a job they stand to lose a week's benefit, the second time, three months' benefit' and the third time, three years' benefit.

(b) Pensions and Savings Bill

This Bill will likely implement an increase in the State Pension age to 66, followed by two further increases, by as much as 8 years ahead of schedule. The Bill will also restore the link between earnings and the basic State Pension beginning in April 2011, which was abandoned in 1980 by Margaret Thatcher's first government.

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