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Personal Independence Payment

Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

13. Whether the mobility component of the personal independence payment will be available to people living in residential care. (66542)

We are reviewing the existing evidence and gathering more to determine the extent to which there are overlaps in provision for the mobility needs of people in residential care homes. The work is continuing and we will make a final decision on the way forward when it is complete.

For the residents of Shaftesbury Court in Lowestoft in my constituency, the mobility component plays an important role in enabling them to lead active lives in the local community. Can the Minister confirm that the PIP will be sufficiently well designed and funded so that that can continue?

I note my hon. Friend’s assiduous support for his constituents in Shaftesbury Court. He also raised this issue on Third Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill. I reassure him that we will consider the needs of people who are in receipt of DLA as we move forward with PIP, regardless of their place of residence. We are doing a great deal of work to ensure that there is sufficient support so that people get the mobility that they require.

Does the Minister realise that in the good society—I do not know about the big society—we care about the disability mobility component? It would destroy people’s lives, including the lives of people in the Leonard Cheshire home in Huddersfield, if it was taken away, because the ability to get out and see something of real life is an essential quality of the good life and the good society.

That is why, as we announced, we are not removing the mobility component from DLA in October 2012. We will ensure that people who live in care homes get sufficient support under PIP.

I recently met constituents in my local Leonard Cheshire home in Crook who are very concerned about losing the mobility element of DLA. The Minister subsequently wrote to my local newspaper, The Northern Echo, advising that those people were wrong to worry about this and that they would not lose it. Is that the Government’s position or is it subject to the review? Are the Government just not sure yet?

I, too, have visited Leonard Cheshire homes, and I have met Leonard Cheshire representatives to discuss this issue. I assure the hon. Lady, as I just said to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman), that we are not removing the DLA mobility component in October 2012. We will look at the needs of care home residents alongside the needs of all other recipients of DLA as part of the broader PIP reform. Perhaps she can take that message back to her constituents. It would be great to get some good information out there.