My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate, and also the Minister for his response. My amendment, which is about who is eligible and who is not, addresses the main crux of the Bill. I shall respond to a few points that noble Lords have raised.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Warner, when he says that we need to be realistic. However, my view still is that a small amount of support for working-age disabled people or older people—to keep them active, to keep them in their own homes and to support them in the best way—will actually save us money in the long term. Moreover, expectations have been raised about what older people can expect.
There is still a lot of work to do on the draft regulations to encompass the needs of working-age disabled people and older people, and to ensure that we keep the consistency. As things stand, giving someone the ability to have an assessment of the care that they can expect, but no actual support, does not help them; it just raises their expectations in a slightly misleading way. Again, disabled people and older people are paying the price of the economic downturn. Although this is not the right time for it, I would welcome a really honest debate on what the Bill is about. Is it about saving money, or is it about the well-being of certain groups of people? As ever, disabled people and older people seem to be at the bottom of the priority list.
I welcome the fact that the Minister has said that he will go away and look at Deloitte’s economic modelling. I think that we would probably agree to disagree about where that is at the moment, but it would be beneficial to try to find the best way forward in that context.
The noble Baroness, Lady Jolly, raised two very important points, the first of which was about the seamless transition. That is incredibly important. This is about not just who makes it to the support level, but what we do with people who are just outside that category. It is crucial that we get the advice and the signposting and all the support absolutely right, to make sure that people are not falling through the cracks. Her second point was that the regulations are still in draft. The Minister in the other place has offered me the opportunity to continue this discussion on the eligibility criteria, and I very much welcome that, because it is a recognition that the draft regulations can be improved.
It is also important that we have a constructive continued discussion on what the draft regulations mean in reality. There is lots of expertise both inside and outside your Lordships’ Chamber, and we must use those people to get to the best place, and use the time we will have in the summer leading up to the formal consultation. I do not see all this as just a negative discussion. There is much work to be done, but I see that as a huge opportunity to improve the regulations and get them into a much better form for everybody. At this stage, however, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 88Q withdrawn.
Amendments 88R to 88T not moved.
Amendment 89 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.
Clause 13 agreed.
Clause 14 : Power of local authority to charge
Moved by Baroness Pitkeathley
89A: Clause 14, page 12, line 35, at end insert—
“( ) Services of an intimate nature can only be provided to the disabled person and not to meet a carer’s need for support and regulations may make provision about what is, or is not, of an intimate nature for the purposes of subsection (3).”