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Press Release: 19 November 2009


NATIONAL CARE: Tories peddling 'scare stories', says Jones

The Conservatives were accused today of peddling a 'scare story' and causing elderly people distress.

Labour MP Lynne Jones said the Conservatives should be ashamed for 'frightening and misleading vulnerable people for political ends'.

She said, " I have never been shy of criticising the Government when I think they are going wrong on benefits.  However, the Tories are peddling a scare story which will cause many elderly and disabled people unnecessary distress.

" The Tories say Brown plans to 'scrap' DLA. This is incorrect. Tories will be well aware that the Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham categorically stated on 22 October 2009:
'...we have now ruled out any suggestion that DLA for under-65's will be brought into the new National Care Service'.

" In the Green Paper the Government show a clear understanding why benefits like Attendance Allowance are valued by those who receive them:

'We know that disability benefits are popular because they provide a universal entitlement which does not depend on where a person lives, they provide a cash budget which can be spent on the services someone wants, and people often use them to support lower-level needs in ways that help them to stay independent and well for longer rather than developing high levels of need."

When I recently asked for assurances on the proposals from the DWP Minister, Jonathan Shaw MP, he wrote to me on 3 November

' It is important to note that we will only make changes to disability benefits if we are certain that by doing so we can better support disabled people, and in a way that draws on the best features of current disability benefits - where everyone can have a cash budget to spend on the services they want..'

" Yes, we need more detail on the proposals but it is disgraceful of the Tories to frighten people in this way.  They are being thoroughly disingenuous: scaring people unnecessarily about Labour's plans to improve the social care system, whilst at the same time proposing that 500,00 people be forced off Incapacity Benefit, many of whom will have mental health problems.

" The threat of the loss of benefit for people with mental health problems (which often fluctuate) is counterproductive to their long term rehabilitation and for some will worsen their condition and create a barrier to getting well.

" It is Tory benefit proposals that people should be afraid of."





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