SMF response to the Conservative party manifesto
• Ending triple lock and means testing winter fuel payment will help restore fairness between generations
• Removal of care cost cap opens people up to unfair risks
• Immigration Skills Charge ‘won’t reduce migrant workers or lead to more British staff being hired’. Any money raised should be spent on visible improvements to public services.
• Helping consumers may need big changes to power and role of regulators
• There should be an NHS funding rule to increase spending on health and social care by a minimum of the rate of GDP growth each year – and an Office of Patient Outcomes.
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Ending triple lock and means testing winter fuel payment will help restore fairness between generations
Responding to the Conservative manifesto, Nigel Keohane, Social Market Foundation (SMF) research director said:
“Ending the triple lock and means-testing the winter fuel payment will go some way to restoring some fairness between the generations: why should the working poor pay tax to fund payments to people who retired with generous private pensions and valuable assets?”
“Ending the Triple Lock is unlikely to have a significant effect on pension rates in the next five years as wage growth and inflation are forecast to be around 2.5% – but it is it the right policy for our long-term finances.
Removal of care cost cap opens people up to unfair risks
Responding to the Conservative manifesto, Kathyrn Petrie, Social Market Foundation economist, said:
“It is welcome news that the Conservatives are proposing that the costs of care can be reclaimed from someone’s estate after their death, but the removal of any cap on care costs runs the risk of people being exposed to an unfairly wide spread of possible costs.
“People who develop long-term conditions such as dementia will face much higher costs than others, for instance. The role of the state is to reduce unfairnesses like that.”
Immigration Skills Charge ‘won’t reduce migrant workers or lead to more British staff being hired’.
Any money raised should be spent on visible improvements to public services.
Responding to the Conservative manifesto commitment to introducing an Immigrant Skills Charge, James Kirkup, Social Market Foundation director, said:
“Even the Government’s own advisers doubt that charges like this will lead to big changes in the number of migrant workers who get hired, and there’s very little to suggest it will lead employers to hire more British staff.
“If this charge is just about raising money from skilled immigration, that money should be spent on visible improvements to local public services.
“Immigration brings great benefits and those benefits should be shared more fairly and made more visible.”
Helping consumers could mean big changes to power and role of regulators
Responding to the Conservative manifesto pledges on consumer markets, SMF director James Kirkup said
“At a time of falling real wages and declining trust in business, policies that give consumers more power and more confidence that they can get a fair deal are sensible politics.
“If Mrs May is going to make good on these promises, she may need a whole new approach to state’s role in consumer markets – that could mean big changes in the power and role of regulators.”
The NHS needs certainty – there should be an NHS funding rule to increase health and social care spending by at least the rate of GDP every year.
Responding to the Conservative manifesto on the NHS, Social Market Foundation research director Nigel Keohane said:
“The health and care systems need certainty. There should be an NHS funding rule to increase spending on health and social care by a minimum of the rate of GDP growth each year. If we can guarantee spending on defence and foreign aid, why not health and care?
“There should also be a new Office of Patient Outcomes to provide real independent oversight and make clear what each pound spent on the NHS delivers for patients’ health.”
Notes to editors
The SMF published Targeting better health in December 2016.
The report assesses a number of ways that a new health funding target could work and draws on lessons from other spending targets. It recommends that the government introduce a target containing dual objectives to increase spending and improve care outcomes. The SMF argues that under such a target the government could:
• Establish a long-term ‘NHS Funding Rule’ to increase healthcare spending levels by a minimum of the rate of GDP growth each year. The SMF estimates that this would increase healthcare spending by an additional £7 billion by 2020/21. This would be a rolling commitment and would apply to spending across both health and social care.
• Establish a small number of priority care outcomes to target every five years, such as improved cancer survival rates (where the UK performs comparatively poorly) and better outcomes in social care. Outcomes in these areas would be reviewed regularly, and if requisite levels of improvement were not observable after three years, the government would commit to investing additional funding to pursue these objectives more aggressively.
The report was written with funding from AstraZeneca.
About the SMF
The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is a non-partisan think tank. We believe that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well. We conduct research and run events looking at a wide range of economic and social policy areas, focusing on economic prosperity, public services and consumer markets. The SMF is resolutely independent, and the range of backgrounds and opinions among our staff, trustees and advisory board reflects this.