I was alarmed to learn that the small print of Labour’s plans to create a National Care Service reveals they will scrap Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance for pensioners to pay for it.
An average £3,400 a year will be snatched away from 2.4 million pensioners – equivalent to a quarter of the average pensioner’s income. In Chatham & Aylesford this would affect a shocking 2,670 pensioners. Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance are based on need; they are not means tested and are intended to cover the extra costs arising from the impact the disability has on the life of the disabled person. The key feature of these benefits is that they can be spent by disabled people how they wish, without restrictions, to best support their individual care needs.
It is clear that Gordon Brown has chosen to penalise one of the most vulnerable groups in our society for the sake of another of his eye-catching announcements. As with every Labour initiative, someone has to pay and, as with many of them, it is once again those who are least able to afford it who are hit by Brown. These benefits provide vital support for disabled pensioners, giving them the chance to lead an independent life with the freedom to tailor their care to their needs. Of course, we need to do more to help people with their care costs, but it is completely wrong to do so at the expense of disabled pensioners.
David Cameron has made it clear that the Conservatives will protect Chatham & Aylesford’s pensioners and fight against Gordon Brown’s plan to scrap benefits for the disabled.