I welcome my right hon. Friend’s commitment to improve and raise NHS capacity. For decades bed occupancy rates in the NHS have been kept too high in the name of efficiency but at the expense of resilience. When it comes to reforming long-term care we need a clear set of principles to be followed: we need to encourage and make it worthwhile for people to save for a rainy day; we need to support families to look after their loved ones; and we must allow enough money to pass down the generations to make it worthwhile to save in the first place. Can my right hon. Friend reassure us that his proposed reforms will meet these tests?
Yes, and I thank my right hon. Friend for his support; he knows a great deal about this subject from many points of view. It is certainly right to bring in the measures that will help to create a private sector market for support in the way I have described, but also more fundamentally from our point of view—my right hon. Friend’s and my point of view—these are measures that support thrift, that support people who save, and that support people who do the right thing:who pay off their mortgage and work hard all their lives to build up something for their families and descendants. So I think these measures are profoundly in the interests of the people of this country.