The complexity of the care system is only making life harder for the elderly

Our reports about how NHS contractors are offering their paid consultancy services to people trying to navigate their way through the care system will have touched a chord with many readers in similar positions.

In some cases the advisers are part of the health service teams whose job is to assess whether elderly, sick individuals qualify for state help. They charge up to £300 a day to relatives who may have been turned down by the very same outfit.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has asked NHS chiefs to report on whether this is a loophole that needs to be closed. But the question they should be asking is why the system is so labyrinthine that finding a way through without expert guidance…

Christmas is about going home, or building a new one

Boris Johnson’s visit to troops stationed in Estonia tapped into the spirit of the season. It was a “thank you” for their service and a reassurance that people back in Britain are thinking about them. Most of us want to be at home for Christmas, surrounded by those we love. Sadly, it’s not always possible.

The Bible is full of the pain of homelessness. The Old Testament is the story of a people who have been captured and enslaved, of their struggle to return and protect their home. In the Gospels, by which time that homeland has been occupied by the Romans, the Holy Family travel to Bethlehem to take part in a census; according to St Luke, there was no room at the inn and they were forced to…

Tories and Labour are united in their neglect of British defence

Our security is probably weaker than at any time since the Cold War

A data firm, Zegami, has published an analysis of all party leaders’ tweets in the first half of this election campaign. There were 764 of them, of which 414 came from either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.

Of those 764, only two tweets mentioned defence. This is the neatest proof I have so far seen of the instinctive ability of rival political parties to collude.

Neither the Tories nor Labour want to talk about defence – the first because they have offered no strategy and not enough money, the second because Labour, under Mr Corbyn’s CND influence, does not believe in the armed services, except as a form of public-sector job…

The utterly unfair prosecution of a highly decorated officer is another disaster for the CPS

Superintendent Williams has been made to register as a sex offender, had her relationship with her sister ruined and her career shattered – all over a picture she didn’t even look at

The prosecution of Superintendent Novlett Robyn Williams for possession of an indecent video of a child has been a textbook example of how sometimes it is not in the public interest to prosecute, even when the evidence can support a conviction.

At first glance, one might ask why would it ever be a mistake to prosecute someone, especially a police officer, for possession of child abuse images?

But this was a very unusual case. The defendant, everyone agreed, was no paedophile secretly salivating over a library containing…

Letters: Politicians should be honest about who foots the bill for ‘free’ services

SIR – I feel a pressing need to introduce a new law that would prohibit any political party from describing anything supplied by a government as “free” (such as “free broadband and Wi-Fi in every home” or “free school meals”).

Under such a law, government services would be described as “taxpayer-funded”.

Tony Palframan
Disley, Cheshire


SIR – The national debt is out of control. In 2010, it stood at £1 trillion. By the end of this year it will be nearly double that at around £2 trillion.

Servicing this debt now costs the country £50 billion per annum, and the figure is rising. This cost of borrowing is based on a policy of keeping the Bank of England base rate at the lowest level for over 350…