Disability Benefits for the Elderly

Part of Opposition Day — [1st allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Minister of State (Disabled People), Regional Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Disabled People), Department for Work and Pensions 6:41 pm, 8th December 2009

I did not say that at all. I was referring to the flexibility with which people could spend the resources available to them.

Let me respond to some of the points that have been made. Steve Webb made a thoughtful speech exposing the cynicism with which the Conservative party has been scaremongering around the country with press releases. He also asked important questions about arrangements for the work force. We shall need to address ourselves to some of those details in the White Paper, especially the relationship between disability living allowance and attendance allowance and other benefits. Other Members also mentioned the work force. We have seen progress since the Care Standards Act 2000. At the time of its introduction, 80 per cent. of the 1 million or so work force had no qualifications. We have increased the number of people with qualifications by 20 per cent.

The hon. Member for Northavon referred to carer's allowance in particular. We have been working with carers as well. Many want to work, but find the benefits system confusing. That is why organisations such as the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Carers UK have welcomed the work of our care partnership managers in Jobcentre Plus. About £20 million has been invested to ensure that they combine all the support mechanisms, ensuring that there is good information for carers so that they can join the labour market.

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