Disability Benefits for the Elderly
Opposition Day — [1st allotted day]
Anne McGuire (Stirling, Labour)
I think that the Secretary of State has answered that question-today and previously-and we are now in the territory of working out how many semantic angels can dance on the head of a pin. The Secretary of State and the Government have been very clear throughout that there will be no cash changes for individuals.
To colleagues who are having difficulty dealing with the reform of social care or in engaging with a Green Paper consultation, let me explain that there is no independence for an elderly person living on attendance allowance in a local authority that does not see social care as one of its funding priorities. That is not about independence, it does not provide choice and it certainly does not give control. As for my friends in voluntary organisations such as Carers UK and the many others that have been mentioned, I have the utmost respect for them, but I think they know in their heart of hearts that we must have a genuine discussion about how to deal with the demographic time-bomb and the social care time-bomb that we all face. I understand exactly why they are advancing some of the arguments that we have heard today, but they need to become part of the ongoing discussion about how we can reform the system. Even the best of the voluntary organisations need to respond to the conundrum of how we should deal with a social care system in which two people are working for every one person over the age of 65.