Caring for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [16th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 15th July 2009.

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Photo of Christopher Fraser Christopher Fraser Conservative, South West Norfolk 6:37 pm, 15th July 2009

I agree 100 per cent. with my hon. Friend. There is no doubt that families try. No matter what their political persuasion or where they live, they try to help each other as best they can. At the end of the day, however, selling one's own home to pay for care is not the solution. Over the past 12 years, many people waiting for help from the Government have done their best to sort, but selling one's home in an economically and financially difficulty environment is not the easiest option.

Some of the proposals in the Green Paper will not suit people, because they will not be around to see the benefit of them. There is no mention of people who are coming to the end of their lives having struggled to manage. What are they to do? What is the Government's commitment to them? The Green Paper talks about the next generation, but we are talking about the here and now. The Green Paper goes some way towards dealing with the problems, but it is too little, too late.

Norfolk is a good example of a local county council in a diverse county doing its best. It serves local farming communities, rural villages, larger towns and, of course, the city of Norwich. Long distances mean that costs go up. People in my constituency, and in Norwich, will need to decide in a couple of months' time whether they can afford to fuel their homes or put food on the table. That is as bare as it gets, and it is a very difficult thing to decide.

People feel very isolated, and they do not have to live in a rural community to do so. People who live in terraced houses in streets with 150 other residents can feel just as isolated if their neighbours have no respect for them and do not feel the need to knock on their front door, and if local services do not have enough money to offer services such as meals on wheels. Other charitably based organisations sometimes cannot offer services to the community. People are making great sacrifices in difficult times, and the Government must address that problem. The people of Norfolk and the rest of the county-and, of course, the people of Norwich-deserve better.