Clause 51 — Period of entitlement to contributory allowance

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 1:15 pm, 1st February 2012

I was not aware of that, and I am concerned to hear it. My hon. Friend is absolutely right that stroke is exactly the type of condition that we are talking about. In the other place, Lord Low read out a letter that had been written to him, which said:

“The state is breaking its side of the contract at a time when people are most vulnerable”,

having had a stroke, or whatever it is. Someone else was quoted in that debate in the other place who made the point that the news of the time limit

“came as a massive shock to me. I have found it…hard to come to terms with the fact that the government can be so cruel”.

They continued:

“My medicine prescription has been increased 4-fold and been supplemented with extra medication since the time limit was announced”.

This is a dreadful proposal. Removing contributory benefit long before most people will have a chance to get back to work will remove an absolutely key plank of the contributory system. In the past, people have been able to depend on support in the event of a health disaster. This change will mean that that will no longer be the case. Those in the other place were absolutely right to say that what the Government are trying to do is shameful. This House should throw it out.