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Lord Tebbit: My Lords, what on earth has been going on in the Home Office? Does the Minister recollect that on 16 November last, she told me in a Written Answer that the 1795 Act was still in force and subsequently had to correct that? Now her officials have written to members of the public saying that they have no idea why the 1795 Act was repealed. It seems that they are incapable of going to the Library, finding the Official Report for 19 March 1998 and reading in it the speeches made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, and Lord Williams of Mostyn, who seemed to have some idea why he was advocating the Act's repeal.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, of course, I apologise for the fact that the 1795 Act was incorrectly referred to. I remind noble Lords that it is not every day that the 1300 Act, the 1870 Act or those other Acts are looked at. There was a mistake. I humbly ask the House's pardon for this terrible mistake that was made by me through that dreadful, inaccurate Answer.
Lord Maclennan of Rogart: My Lords, does the Minister recognise that the 1795 Act was the terrorism Act of its day? It took rather a long time to repeal something that was inspired by public hysteria about the threat of the French and introduced by a repressive Conservative administration under William Pitt the Younger.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, some might so describe it, but I could not possibly comment. However, the Treason Act 1795 was looked at again in
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the Treason Act 1817, which was repealed in part by the Treason and Felony Act 1848, so it was dealt with relatively swiftly.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, we are grateful that that Act was followed by a number of other Acts that sought to bring it into force. To help your Lordships, there was the Treason Act 1351, the Treason Act 1702, the Treason Act 1842 and the Treason and Felony Act 1848, which all amplified our splendid common law offence, so Scotland is safe.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I suppose that this could not possibly have anything to do with the fact that European Union Commissioners affirm an oath of allegiance to the European Union. If they do so, they swear allegiance to somebody other than Her Majesty the Queen, which I understand would in itself be treasonable.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I hesitate as always to give any disappointment to the noble Lord, but I have to tell him that the EU constitution is, unfortunately, not a treasonable document.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My Lords, my ministerial colleague, Stephen Ladyman, announced last August that we would be developing a Green Paper on the future of adult social care. I expect the Green Paper to be published shortly. The Government announced on 3 March an extra £60 million for partnerships for older people projects. They will provide a range of schemes that maintain and enhance the independence of older people.
Baroness Greengross: My Lords, I thank the Minister very much for that reply and I look forward with interest to the Green Paper. I hope that it will cover all the various things that he mentioned. In particular, I would like to draw his attention to the importance of highlighting the need for people to have low-level social care. To retain independence it is often the small tasksshopping or, in health terms, nail cutting, tasks involving household gadgets or changing lightbulbs, which involve
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safetythat can make all the difference between someone remaining independent or having to go far too early into expensive long-term care.
Lord Warner: My Lords, we want to ensure that there is a proper balance between prevention and other activities in the area of intensive care support. What services a person needs to allow him or her to live happily and safely in their own home rather than end up in hospital or a care home are specific to each individual, as I think the noble Baroness is saying. I accept that tasks such as shopping and cleaning can enhance a person's well-being, improve their quality of life and avoid social exclusion. Through the Green Paper we want to try to encourage councils to give due balance to those issues.
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, is it not a fact that local authorities have usually supplied these services for people and that that has worked well, and that a great many voluntary bodies have been involved? By using volunteers, particularly older volunteers, one is giving them an occupation which in itself can be beneficial. Perhaps the most useful social service of all has been our freedom passes to get us around because that keeps people mobile longer than anything.
Lord Warner: My Lords, I am sure that everyone in the House pays tribute to the Mayor of London and his freedom passes, which I am sure have benefited a number of Members of this House. I also pay tribute to the work done by voluntary organisations. The private sector, as well as the public sector, has also provided some of the support services that are needed by older people.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, will the Green Paper include among those who might be eligible for reimbursement members of an individual's own family if they are able to provide lower-level social care? I hope that he can answer that.
Lord Warner: My Lords, I am afraid that the noble Baroness will have to wait for the Green Paper to be published. I am not at liberty to anticipate that. Eligibility criteria for adult social care are a matter to be determined by local councils.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the noble Baroness's Question would have been dear to the heart of the late Lord Sheppard, who was a former Member of these Benches. Do the Government agree that the New Vision for Adult Social Care should lead us to think in terms not just of that rather clichéd expression "person-centred care" but of person, family and community-centred care? I return to the recent supplementary on the voluntary sector, which is under-resourced and having difficulty in recruiting. However, I would like to instance a successful example of the voluntary sector; namely, the church-sponsored initiative, the voluntary care group advisory service in Hampshire.
Lord Warner: My Lords, I am sure the whole House will want to pay tribute to the contribution that
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Lord Sheppard made to our public life. As someone who saw him as a young man opening the batting for England, I remember that period with great fondness.
As regards the right reverent Prelate's points about the voluntary sector, the Government accept that that sector plays a large role in the area that we are discussing and will continue to support those services. I pay tribute to the service to which the right reverend Prelate drew attention. However, there are many other areas in which the Government have taken initiatives such as direct payments where elderly people themselves can make the decisions about the kind of support that they wish to acquire.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, my noble friend referred to the importance of integration of services across various agencies and the voluntary sector. While not seeking to anticipate the announcement by the Government, does he agree that there may be a case for a stronger role being given to the health service in taking leadership to ensure that there is consistency of approach across all these agency boundaries?
Lord Warner: My Lords, we will, of course, have to wait for the Green Paper but I am sure that my noble friend has read the report by Professor Ian Philp, Better health in old age, which draws attention to huge improvements in hip replacements, knee replacements, cataract operations and so on from which older people have benefited through the improved services that this Government have introduced under the NHS.
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