Back to the Future

By DeusExMacintosh

Welfare Reform Bill

The government’s controversial Welfare Reform Bill has passed its final hurdle in the House of Lords.

The bill introduces an annual cap on benefits and overhauls many payments within the welfare system.

David Cameron has said it marks an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in more than 60 years. But a report from a parliamentary committee has warned that changes to the benefits of disabled people may risk their right to independent living.

The Welfare Reform Bill, which applies to England, Scotland and Wales, had “ping-ponged” between the Commons and the Lords for several weeks.

Peers had inflicted seven defeats on the bill, including imposing a £26,000 annual benefit cap for working age households and means-testing employment and support allowance after one year. But one by one the votes were overturned by MPs. On Wednesday crossbench peer Lord Best withdrew an amendment on the final point of dispute – the “under occupancy” penalty – dubbed a “bedroom tax” by critics – for social housing tenants in properties judged to have more rooms than they need.

The Bill will now be sent for Royal Assent.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said he was delighted that the bill had passed the Lords.

“Many people said it would not get through, but it has and on time,” he said. “This bill reforms every part of our welfare system and I look forward to implementing the changes our country badly needs.

“The Universal Credit will mean that work will pay for the first time, helping to lift people out of worklessness and the endless cycle of benefits.”

Meanwhile, MPs have said that the rights of disabled people to lead an independent life must be written into UK law. The Joint Committee on Human Rights said the “cumulative impact” of welfare reforms could force some people out of their homes.

The UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, but the coalition must “fulfil its obligations”, the committee said.

BBC News

9 Comments

  1. Mel
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Sounds like it will not be long before the Hayekian conservatives start inciting Kristallnacht-style attacks on disabled people.

  2. Mel
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Oops. They already have.

  3. Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Denigration is the necessary step in exclusion. Perhaps the various Christians involved should be reminded of Matthew 5:22.

    Australia went through a period of dealing with problems in enforcement of disability rules some years ago: but my memory was the rhetoric was generally framed so as to not include the disabled.

  4. kvd
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Just to cheer some of you up a bit, this article contains some interesting info – most particularly the bit about newspapers, and what they indicate about their readers.

    Tempting tho’ it is to place names to mastheads, I shall resist 😉 – although I have half a mind to say something…

  5. kvd
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Admin – apologies, but above link needs ?_r=1 on the back end of it so it reads like this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/magazine/explaining-londoners.html?_r=1

  6. kvd
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Just to cheer some of you up a bit, this article contains some interesting info – most particularly the bit about newspapers, and what they indicate about their readers.

    Tempting tho’ it is to place names to mastheads, I shall resist 😉 – although I have half a mind to say something…

  7. Davo
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Ah .. but the Jesters achieve .. wot?

    (gah, am somewhat cynical in elder-ship concepts)

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