I spent part of this afternoon trying to reassure my mother that she is not going to lose her attendance allowance under the government's new social care plan.
My mum is probably typical of elderly people receiving the allowance. She is 83, widowed for 5 years and living alone in her bungalow. Despite having failing eyesight and reduced mobility, she is able to continue living in her own home through a combination of supportive friends and neighbours and buying in services. She pays for a cleaner to come twice a week, and a gardener to prune shrubs and mow the lawn. She also pays a handyman to do occasional odd jobs round the home. She gets around on a buggy and still uses the bus, but occasionally pays for a taxi. She could not afford these services without the attendance allowance, and she would have to sell up and go into sheltered accommodation or an old people's home.
Labour has accused the Tories of scare-mongering saying "We have been absolutely clear that those currently receiving attendance allowance and those over-65 receiving DLA would continue to receive an equivalent level of support and protection in any reformed system."
However that just ain't reassuring to my mum, for the simple reason that the services she buys privately are already offered by social services but at a greater cost, and with less flexibility.
I told her not to worry because Labour will soon be gone. What else could I say?