Clause 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 15th January 2008.

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Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North 12:30 pm, 15th January 2008

I am sure that they would—one hopes that they would—but as I said earlier, the Human Rights Act is important, in that it sets a framework of law to underpin people’s rights and to ensure that the culture changes. When such things happen—inspectors cannot be there all the time—people should know that the regulations are backed by the force of law.

As I said, I could mention many other cases, and there are other issues concerning self-funding care home residents. The amendments would also cover care home residents who funded their own social care. We believe that it is vital to protect all older and disabled people, regardless of who pays for their care.

There is a danger in drawing artificial distinctions between publicly and privately funded residents, as Lord Mance noted in his ruling in the YL case. He implored care homes to

“view and treat all such residents with equality”.

He concluded his judgment by sending this message to Parliament:

“if additional protection is to be achieved by statutory means, it is no matter for regret that this should be done without distinguishing between residents in one and the same care home who on the one hand arrange and fund their own care and accommodation and others who on the other hand benefit from local authority assistance to arrange and fund such care and accommodation.”

Other issues will need to be debated later, but I believe that this question is of fundamental importance. I hope that the Government will accept the amendment. Simply expressing a hope that we can bring in regulations or legislation at a later stage is not sufficiently strong. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will undertake today to guarantee that the Bill will include a guarantee that the Human Rights Act 1998 will apply to all residents of care homes, whether in the private or the public sector. I rest my case. I hope that others will support me.