Caring for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [16th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:19 pm on 15th July 2009.

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Photo of Greg Mulholland Greg Mulholland Shadow Minister (Health) 5:19 pm, 15th July 2009

There are some interesting pilots taking place in parts of the country, but that simply will not deal with the institutional divide in Whitehall, which I am afraid will take a lot longer to shift.

I now turn to the Green Paper, and I shall again quote the Prime Minister. Let us bear in mind that we are now nine months away from a general election, yet the Prime Minister says:

"What is now needed is a major debate about the challenge we face and the options for addressing it...This is the start of a process for discussion rather than the end".

That is extraordinary. The Green Paper should have been published many years ago. If the warm words said before the 1997 general election meant anything, we would have had such a Green Paper published during the first years of the Labour Government.

The Secretary of State made a big plea for consensus yesterday, saying that we must all work together. Frankly, I am afraid that nine months before a general election, in the dying days of a Government, is absolutely not the time to be talking about needing consensus.