Welfare Reform Bill — Report (4th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 17 January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Low of Dalston Lord Low of Dalston Crossbench 9:15, 17 January 2012

My Lords, I promised the Minister earlier on that if he just waited long enough, sweetness and light would break out. The fact that the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, and I have our names on another amendment in this group enables me to tell him that we have now reached that point.

There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over 99 just persons who need no repentance. For that reason, I greatly welcome the Government's decision to drop their proposal to withdraw the mobility component from those living in residential care. I have been given some credit for bringing this about with the review that I was asked to lead by Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap, but I think, in all honesty, I must disclaim this. Half of that is because I had a very good team working with me, supported by an extremely able and hard-working secretariat from both organisations; and half because I think Ministers, to their considerable credit, largely came to their decision of their own accord. Perhaps I may have provided a little cover for a U-turn-if so, I am glad to have been of service.

It would be tedious if I were to start recycling all the water that has now flowed under the bridge by rehearsing the considerations that led both the Government and my review to come to the conclusion that it would not be appropriate to withdraw the mobility component from those living in residential care. Probably the most significant of them, as has been mentioned, was that we could not detect any evidence of the double funding that was thought to exist and the Government could not either.

The Government can be proud of the fact that on this occasion, when faced with the evidence that did not support their initial conclusion, they had the grace to acknowledge the fact and reverse that initial conclusion. This is very much to be welcomed and a matter for congratulation.


Doug Paulley
Posted on 18 Jan 2012 2:50 pm (Report this annotation)

Clearly, then, Lord Low has an incredibly low opinion of disabled people who campaigned tirelessly for this amendment. Ministers made the decision "of their own accord" eh. It's got nothing to do with the unending pressure from a wide swathe of disabled people up and down the country. Arrogant whatsit.