Welfare Reform Bill: what next?

Today I watched the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords. The debate lasted more than seven hours; I was not able to follow all of it (After all, I’m not fit for work!) but I did manage to listen to most of it and also to tweet the key points that I heard, as did a few others. See the hashtag #wrb to catch up on that.

A few things of note:

  • Of 55 speakers, only a handful gave their outright support for the bill.
  • Nearly every speaker expressed concern about various aspects of the bill, ranging from mild caution up to wild predictions of doom.
  • Many of the Lords and Ladies asked for parts of the bill to be significantly amended at the committee stage.
  • Many of the speakers noted that they had received a large amount of lobbying, letters and emails concerned about the bill.

The bill sailed through the second reading but this was not unexpected. The next step for this bill is the committee stage. During this stage the Lords will examine every clause in the bill, examining issues raised during the debate and amending the bill where necessary. The committee stage normally starts at least two weeks after the second reading. After the committee stage the bill goes to the report stage and the third reading, so any objections have to be raised before the committee stage. I believe it is still worth contacting a lord in the next two weeks to register your objections.

Some points to raise include:

  • The benefit cap which will badly affect children of large families.
  • Under occupancy rules that will uproot families and remove people from support networks.
  • The time-limiting of ESA which will leave many people without support before they are well enough to work.
  • The arbitrary 20% reduction of the budget for PIP compared to DLA.
  • The problems with the Work Capability Assessment, which definitely should not be replicated with PIP assessments.
  • The unnecessary stress of testing some people repeatedly in spite of permanent or  worsening health problems.
  • The removal of the mobility component of DLA from people in care homes.
  • The loss of the severe disability premium.
  •  Lots more, but I’m half dead and can’t remember! Please add your own points in the comments.

You can adopt a peer on this handy website which will help you pick someone and contact them. (After you have written a letter about the welfare reform bill, please also write something about the health and social care bill, which is what that website is really aimed at.)

You can follow the progress of the Welfare Reform Bill and sign up for email updates at the parliament website.

If you want to know more about how legislation passes through parliament, read all about that on the parliament website too.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

11 thoughts on “Welfare Reform Bill: what next?”

  1. i think thye are on a mission to harrass the vunerable to point  where poverty has them on the streets. this is disgrace to humanity and shows no compassion to those who need it at all. i will be deeply affected by these cuts and will finacially go under and prob lose my housing assocaition home . the stress the wca put me under let alone the next one of dla reform adds to make my conditions much worse  yet i have no voice as they rip away rights to appeal or take legal action by cutting that too. i never voted for these bunch but i sure hope karma comes to them soon before it is too late

  2. Medical knowledge and technology changes and advances over time, so that new things become possible. I think that must be one of the thoughts behind the idea of repeated assessments. 

    Though I think this could be adequately assessed at GP level…

  3. get to work u people, ive seen u lot time and time again pay nothing in get nothing out, present system unfair to people who pay in and come out of work they should get better support in way of %of pay back, people in this country thinks the world owes them a living, im sorry u have diblty but why should tax payer pay for it, free healthcare, free house, money to spend complain complain, get to work stop turning ur nose up at jobs

    1. How narrow minded & judgemental you are.  I worked full time for 25 years until I was hit with a painful & debilitating condition which caused me to have to give up a much loved career. I receive incapacity benefit which I feel I deserve having paid NI contributions for all my working years. However I don’t get a “free house”, I have a mortgage to pay. I also pay a fortune for my prescriptions every month. If you would take away my pain & disability, I would gladly give up the pittance I receive every fortnight & go back to work. This vision you have of disabled folk living the life of Riley is so far from the truth. You obviously believe all the venom spouted in the press about how easy it is to languish on benefits when the reality is the opposite, it’s very hard to make the money stretch & living with a painful disability on a daily basis is very hard without ignorant people making nasty comments. The facts are myself & folk like me are in this position through no fault of their own, Nobody would choose to be ill as a lifestyle. I have to take opiate painkillers just to get me through the day. I can’t take holidays or do the things you take for granted like going out for a meal or to the cinema.  I know there are people out there who abuse the system but please don’t tar every ill or disabled non working individual with the same brush. Genuine sick & disabled people are going through hell at the moment.Take my disablity & all that comes with it & I’ll have your job.

      1. As a purely practical aside, if you’re paying a lot every month on prescriptions, it may be worth getting a prescription pre-payment certificate. The annual one works out less than 15 prescription items per year. If you ask me, medical exemptions to the prescription charge should be much broader, but the system is what it is.

    2. I’m surprised that you are so keen for the sick and disabled to enter
      the jobs market. Most of them appear to have greater literacy skills
      than you, judging by the many postings on this subject I have seen. That
      could be serious competition for you.

      You aren’t a policeman, are you?

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