House of Lords delays government’s planned welfare cuts
PUBLISHED: 18:00 01 March 2016
A disabled charity is celebrating after the House of Lords voted to delay the government’s welfare reform bill proposals for a second time.
On Monday night, the Lords voted 289 to 219 to reject the government’s plans to cut £30 a week from the employment and support allowance (ESA) of ill and disabled people deemed unfit for work.
Jon Abrams, from Redbridge Disability Consortium, was relieved that the Lords had given the government a chance to reassess its plans.
He said: “It’s good news that it’s been sent back for the House of Commons to look at again and for MPs to think about how it will negatively impact disabled people because we think the cuts will drive people away from the labour market in the long-term.
“Now I think the technical term is it ‘ping-pongs’ between the Lords and the Commons, so we’ll wait and see.”
A parliamentary report will now be drawn up on the impact of the cuts on claimants, before the Commons votes on any amendments made to the bill.
Labour representative and MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, said: “I hope that the government and the House of Commons will start listening to disabled charities and other representatives when they say cutting ESA isn’t the right thing to do.
“These cuts are punishing exactly the wrong sort of people. These are people who are disabled, and it’s not that they don’t want a job, they desperately want to work. I think it’s wrong of the government to take support away from them now.”
Conservative ministers believe the cuts would provide an incentive for people to get back to work, and the defeat will be particularly upsetting for Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, who is secretary of state for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is spearheading the government’s welfare reforms.
A DWP statement said: “The vote in the House of Lords is a routine part of the legislative process and next steps will be announced in due course.”
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