Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Laura Moffatt Laura Moffatt Labour, Crawley 5:53 pm, 8th December 2009

I am grateful for that intervention, and I agree that the press release will make life tougher for people who will be anxious and concerned by it. Those who blindly follow the party lead and stick their name into a press release and put it out without thought or consideration need to think very carefully. I am very much aware that I have the most marginal seat in the country and I am proud of my 37 majority-and I have the tattoo to prove it. If our opponents issue press releases just to stoke up some concern, that is an issue of trust, and those people should reflect on what they are doing.

It seems to me that this campaign began with a deeply held desire to engage with constituents on the future of social care, but it has been turned into a bandwagon campaign, and that may have something to do with the fact that the Opposition proposal-hastily put together at the party conference-for a one-off payment for those willing to go into residential care, has bombed. There is no question about that. None of my constituents is talking about that proposal-the only game in town is about how we can provide care at home for family members. It is not about people who are well at present signing up to go into a nursing home in the future. There is a connection between those two events that has caused the Conservatives to jump on this bandwagon.

I hope that when we have the Second Reading of the Bill that will be the first step towards the national care service, our constituents will understand that they can trust the proposals and their benefits will not be affected. We need to have a proper debate, as many hon. Members have said today. We cannot go on avoiding the issue of providing care for elderly people with dignity and decency. I hope that after this robust debate today we will be able to make progress and look in detail at how we ensure that everybody can be confident that they will be able to live in a decent, happy and secure home in the future.

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