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 Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys 1:30 pm, 1st February 2012

I thank the Minister for that helpful clarification.

Secondly, I want to reflect on the comments pre-empted by what was said by Yvonne Fovargue and perhaps go beyond the implementation of this system to look at the wider impact on the ability of individuals to form independent relationships.

As Mr Field has recognised, we are talking largely about the impact on human behaviour. I am concerned—it is possibly a mistaken fear—that if people were to enter into a relationship and cease to be an independent household, they might become dependent on their partner’s income.

That could be a deterrent to forming a meaningful relationship. I may be a simple Member of Parliament who fails to understand this complex issue, but the all-party parliamentary group for young disabled people, which I chair, has asked me expressly to raise this issue, which is at the heart of its concerns about this amendment. I would welcome some clarification of how the Government think people will behave in real life as opposed to in the benefit system.

I shall not detain the House any longer. The Government have my full support on these amendments, but I would like more clarity about how they view their implementation.