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Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Conservative, Norwich North 6:06 pm, 8th December 2009

The reason for today's debate is the Government's failure to be entirely clear about how they will fund their three proposed options for a national care service in their Green Paper. My hon. Friend Justine Greening pointed out that all of us-at least on this side of the House-have been victims of smear campaigns in elections that we have fought, whether in relation to TV licences, pensions or Sure Start, and now this issue. Our campaign is not a smear campaign and I agree with those hon. Members who have said that the subject is far more serious than that. We should treat it with the respect that it deserves.

If the Government think that they can achieve something in their last six months, let us take them at their word. Let us have that debate on behalf of our vulnerable constituents. Let us proceed with caution, but also with clarity. We need a debate that contains costs and decisions-I hate to break that news to Labour Members. I hope that when he sums up the Minister will answer the question posed by my right hon. Friend Mrs. May about cash benefits. She asked whether, if there are to be no cash losers, the benefits will be available to be spent as people want to spend them.

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