The House of Commons will debate the Welfare Reform Bill on Wednesday 1 February 2012. The House of Lords will have had their final debate on the subject on the previous day. The public will have little time to lobby their MPs on the issue, but campaigning organisations such as the Labour Representation Committee have taken the initiative to try and ensure that amendments passed by the House of Lords are accepted by the House of Commons as well. These amendments seek to protect people with disabilities, children with disabilities, cancer patients, and also deal with issues relating to Housing Benefit and benefits for lone parents.
On Saturday, it was the turn of the protesters
to make their voices heard. Now MPs have to act, and it represents an important challenge for the Labour Party: can they stand up to this coalition government and defeat a deeply flawed and damaging bill? Or will fear of opinion polls and focus groups promote timidity?
The Lords amendments that left-wing Labour pressure group, the Labour Representation Committee
are promoting deal with:
a) The benefit cap: the amendment seeks to exclude child benefit from the benefit cap, to prevent unjust outcomes;
b) Lone parents: the amendment seeks to avoid lone parents having to pay to use the services of the Child Support Agency
c) Cancer patients: the amendment seeks to ensure that those who have (or are treated as having) limited work capacity because they are suffering from cancer are not stripped of essential benefit payments and forced onto Job Seekers Allowance
These amendments are joined by important ones about the benefit status of young people with disabilities and issues relating to housing benefit and joblessness.
Members of the public are being asked to contact their MP
and urge them to support these Lords amendments to prevent this government from forcing the most vulnerable in our society from paying for a crisis that they did not cause.