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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

My hon. Friend makes a very good point better than I could have done.

Part of the argument on this matter is that attendance allowance is effective; it works. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said much the same thing last month to the Select Committee on Work and Pensions:

"One of the things we have said is that Attendance Allowance provides very important support for an awful lot of people across the country in a way that they hugely value. In particular it gives people control; it gives them control themselves over the way in which they get support and it is a budget that they can spend themselves."

The universities of Essex and Anglia Ruskin

"found no evidence that Attendance Allowance is paid long term to significant numbers of people who do not have accompanying health problems".

When someone receives both the allowance and care services, the allowance itself is taken into account through the financial assessment.

Those people who use this allowance often do so to save some money to meet higher occasional payments, such as for a wheelchair. An Age UK survey of older people who received attendance allowance found that the allowance supports older people

"to live in their own homes for as long as possible with a reasonable quality of life given their would be no exaggeration to say that Attendance Allowance transforms people's lives."

In summary, people use the attendance allowance and disability living allowance to help them, under their own control, to create a quality of life for themselves that helps them to remain independent. That is precisely in line with the policy we are all trying to pursue. It is clear that if one narrowly focuses only on care needs, we will miss out much that goes to constitute well-being, and there is no health without well-being, and there is no independence, without sustaining people's quality of life.

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