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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Buried in the PBR
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

Hello again,

Has there been a more extraordinary couple of weeks?

Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan had a term for it

The much used Harold Macmillan quote that "It's events, dear boy, events", that shapes politics is normally bang on - that is why it is deployed so often.

The ramping up of election speculation, the visit to Iraq with that not altogether candid assessment on troop withdrawals, the decision to call off the election via a pre-recorded interview, and a news conference in which the prime minister insisted the polls had played no part in his decision.

All has led to a sense of incredulity at Westminster.

And then a boisterous session of Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday had many wondering if we're entering a new, fierce - and much more equal - political era.

Away from the eye-catching

Alistair Darling
Alistair Darling's statement had some hidden surprises

Those not distracted by Darling's eye-catching announcement on inheritance tax (which was strangely similar to George Osborne's eye catching announcement on inheritance tax) may have noticed something else rather interesting, buried in the Pre-Budget Report (PBR).

The Chancellor said in his report that next year the government would produce a Green Paper on the social care system. Translation?

The government is looking at plans for the state to meet more of the costs for elderly and disabled people who need long term care at home.

At the moment, costs of home care are means-tested against the value of that person's assets, and only those with less than 12,000 have their care paid for wholly by the state.

For many others in England, the cost of care has meant they've had to sell their home.

So what is the government thinking? How much money might be made available, and is it a good use of resources?

I'll be talking to Ivan Lewis, the minister responsible.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - perhaps you, or someone you know, have had to sell your home, or perhaps you think it's perfectly reasonable that people should pay towards their own care.

You can tell us your story in the e-mail form below.

Money money money

Lord Ashcroft
Lord Ashcroft is putting money into marginal seats
The vexed question of money in politics reared its ugly head again this week.

After the election was called off, Labour MPs told Gordon Brown they were worried that the Conservative party Deputy Chairman, Lord Ashcroft, will have plenty of time to spend money campaigning in marginal seats.

They want the PM to change the law - spending during an election campaign is tightly regulated, but outside of an election period, support for candidates is uncapped.

Unfair, say Labour. Nonsense, say the Conservatives, pointing to Labour's financial reliance on the Trade Unions.

So - is all fair in love and politics? And does money make such a big difference anyway? Gillian Hargreaves investigates.

Besides the sea side...

Seaside towns are among some of the poorest areas in the country.

Many of them struggle with high levels of unemployment - and up till now, many have been eligible for European funds.

But as the European money dries up, some MPs are calling for a joined up government strategy to help such areas.

In his Autumn Political Cartoon Gallery, Gary Barker gives his own personal take on the politics of the week...

Paola Buonadonna has been to Margate to sniff the sea air and find out how to regenerate our seaside towns.



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