Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 4:06 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Health 4:06 pm, 8th December 2009

I do not think the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has been listening this afternoon, nor do I think she listened yesterday at Work and Pensions questions, when the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend Jonathan Shaw, said quite clearly that an equivalent level of support meant no cash losers. She has not been listening to this debate nor indeed did she listen to the debate yesterday.

The right hon. Lady asks if our proposals mean that people can have the control to buy what they need. How many times have I said that this afternoon? The crux of what we are building is the power and control that people get in cash benefits-that is at the heart of the national care service. It could not be clearer and she clearly has not been listening to anything we have said.

We want to go further. In the Personal Care at Home Bill, we want to build a system that does all it can not just to pick up the pieces when people need help, but that has prevention at its heart. We want to invest resources in re-ablement-services to get people back on their feet and to give them intensive support after illness, an operation or a fall, so that they can live independently at home. The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire is only proposing to help people who end up in residential care. What kind of a vision of the future is that-giving people an incentive to go into residential care? Surely the best way forward for care is to invest in prevention, to give people support to live independently at home and, at all times, to support them to live in their home. That is what they tell us that they want.

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