Clause 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 15th January 2008.

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Photo of Brian Jenkins Brian Jenkins Labour, Tamworth 12:45 pm, 15th January 2008

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North, because I find it quite difficult, coming from a party of equality, to understand how we cannot have equality in the whole country when it comes to the right of appeal. I find it very difficult to understand how a person can be placed in an old folk’s home run by a local authority and be covered by the Human Rights Act, but, through no fault of their own, if they are placed in a privately run home, because the local authority fails to provide that home, they are not covered by the Human Rights Act. I find it even more amazing that, if someone is unfortunately not covered and funded by a local authority but has to make their own provision, they are placed at an even greater disadvantage and have even fewer safeguards.

Although I recognise that the hon. Member for Eddisbury said that it is a legal nightmare when we start to walk down this path, I do not think that the difficulty should dissuade us from doing so. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will find the right words at the present time to give an assurance to the members of the Committee that we will not walk away from the problem and that we will start to make an advance in dealing with it and to put a framework in place attached to the Bill, or else provide a very early opportunity for the House to vote on the issue, so that we can cover those vulnerable people and thereby close what I feel is a disgraceful episode: the level of inequality afforded to citizens in our country.