Clause 51 — Period of entitlement to contributory allowance

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 1:00 pm, 1st February 2012

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I am afraid that the message that this measure is sending to people in that situation is, “You’ve wasted your time.” Indeed, that is the case not only if they have a partner with an income, but if they have any savings. If they have more than £16,000 saved, there will be no means-tested support at all.

Members need to be clear about what the Government will be doing if they get their way. Under this measure, people who are in the middle of a health crisis will be plunged into a financial catastrophe. People who have worked and paid into the system all their lives—people who have, as my right hon. Friend says, done the right thing—will find that the system is not there to help them when they need it.