Clause 83

Part of Welfare Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:15 pm on 10th May 2011.

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Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 8:15 pm, 10th May 2011

I am astonished at that. The Minister has not given any answers that would allow me to withdraw the amendment. If she had, then, as with other amendments, I would be willing to do that. She has not managed to answer our questions. She has not explained the purpose of the clause. If the Government are saying, “We originally came forward with a proposal that categorically said that, as a group, we do not think that those in residential homes should get a mobility component”, she could have drawn the comparison, as the Prime Minister did, with people in hospitals. There was a huge reaction to that comparison. The Government reasonably said, “That was not what we meant. We understand that it is a different case and that there are differences. We need to look at this again.”

If the Government said to us, “We are looking at this again and we are undertaking a review; we will come back to you. We are not sure which direction we are going in”, I would understand that. That would be a perfectly reasonable approach. I probably would have disagreed with it, if I am being honest, but it would have been a reasonable, consistent and clear approach. That is not what the Minister has said. We will all go back through Hansard, as will a number of organisations, and find that that is not what the Minister or the Government have said. They have said that they are keeping clause 83 in the Bill, that they are undertaking a review and that they are looking at overlap, but they cannot tell us who that will apply to, what the criteria and the terms of reference are for the review or who they will be speaking to. With the greatest respect, it would a dereliction of our duty if we withdrew this amendment, given what we have heard today.