Clause 51 — Period of entitlement to contributory allowance

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 1:30 pm, 1st February 2012

That is absolutely right; that is how the Government are changing the system. Disabled young people, in recognition of their particular circumstances, have been assured since the 1970s—under Governments of both parties—of an independent income from the state. This Government are taking it away from them. As a result of this change, they will lose that security in exchange for very little saving at all to the Exchequer. The Child Poverty Action Group points out that the current arrangement helps

“young disabled people who may be vulnerable to forming unsuitable relationships, or may avoid forming a suitable relationship due to fears about losing an independent income”,

as my right hon. Friend Mr Field correctly said. The current arrangements give the chance of a more secure and independent life to people who would, through absolutely no fault of their own, find that very difficult otherwise. At less than £10 million a year, that is a price worth paying for the independence of severely disabled young people. I urge the House to reject the Government motion.