Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:45 pm, 8th December 2009

As we have heard, we are effectively debating early-day motion 1, which was tabled by my hon. Friend Bob Russell after a night spent in a sleeping bag to ensure that he was in the Table Office to table perhaps slightly more than one early-day motion. However, of all the issues that could be brought to the House's attention, he chose this to be the first motion of the new Session, and rightly so. I congratulate him.

The subject of our debate is important, and I am delighted that the Conservatives have put the words in my hon. Friend's motion on the Order Paper. He was quite surprised when I told him last night that they had done so-he was slightly surprised too that they did not tell him directly, but never mind. However, the debate gives us the chance to put to rest, I hope, something that has caused great anxiety among millions of disabled people in Britain.

We have all seen the press release being talked about, and as much as Mr. Lansley might pretend otherwise, it is transparent that the release that he is encouraging his party's candidates to put out is designed to alarm current recipients of the allowances. All the statistics that his office-I assume that it is his office-has inserted into the press release relate to current recipients. It refers to 2.4 million pensioners who are current recipients. It reads: "In (constituency) ,"-fill in the gap-

"this would affect (x) pensioners- (y) who receive Attendance Allowance"- note the present tense-

"and (z) who receive Disability Living Allowance".

It is designed to frighten people.

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