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New Labour's soviet care system: OPG - Office of the Public Guardian

Don't even become dependant on the state under New Labour.

  • 3,000 complaints in first 18 months of new system
  • Families made to pay to access own bank account
  • Homes of elderly raided in search for documents

A secret court is seizing the assets of thousands of elderly and mentally impaired people and turning control of their lives over to the State - against the wishes of their relatives.

The draconian measures are being imposed by the little-known Court of Protection, set up two years ago to act in the interests of people suffering from Alzheimer's or other mental incapacity.

The court hears about 23,000 cases a year - always in private - involving people deemed unable to take their own decisions. Using far-reaching powers, the court has so far taken control of more than £3.2billion of assets.

The cases involve civil servants from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which last year took £23million in fees directly from the bank accounts of those struck down by mental illness, involved in accidents or suffering from dementia.

The officials are legally required to act in cases where people do not have a 'living will', or lasting power of attorney, which hands control of their assets over to family or friends.

But the system elicited an extraordinary 3,000 complaints in its first 18 months of operation. Among them were allegations that officials failed to consult relatives, imposed huge fees and even 'raided' elderly people's homes searching for documents.

Carers trying to cope with a mentally impaired loved one, forced to apply for a court order to access money, said they felt the system put them under suspicion as it assumed at the outset that they were out to defraud their relatives.

Opposition politicians said the system, set up by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, needed to be overhauled to take account of the fact that most people were 'honourable and decent' and had their loved ones' best interests at heart.
Everything the state touches, assumes the public are criminals, is poorly run and provides a poor service. 3000 complaints in just 18 months says it all really.

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