Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health 3:33 pm, 8th December 2009

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I shall, of course, be as brief as the argument allows, but I tend to allow Members to make interventions and I am certainly happy to respond to them.

The Minister kept saying yesterday in response to questions that those who are currently entitled to these benefits would, under the Government's proposals, receive the same "cash support", but the amendment to the motion does not say that. It states that

"those receiving the affected benefits at the time of reform would continue to receive an equivalent level of support", which is the same language used in the Green Paper and the same language used by Health Ministers in responses to questions. There is a complete difference between those two things. If it is cash, what is the point of taking away a cash benefit from people in order to give them the cash back? If it is not cash and it is paying for the national care service, our precise point is that there will be a difference between what people use disability benefits to pay for now and what will be provided to them as personal care services under a national care service. There is a major discontinuity between those two things, which Ministers do not seem to understand at all.

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