There were two votes in the House of Commons last night. For the first, I voted in favour of the reasoned amendment (see below) put down by the Labour front bench which declined to give a second reading to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. Had we won this vote, the Bill would have gone no further and David Cameron’s assault on some of our most vulnerable people would have been stopped.
I abstained from the second vote because some things in the bill, such as the reporting obligations on full employment and apprenticeships, I welcome. Had I voted against the Bill at this stage, I would have been voting against some things that would have benefited the people of Sunderland.
The Bill now progresses to Committee stage where the Labour Party will fight to oppose and amend its most cruel aspects.
Labour’s reasoned amendment:
That this House, whilst affirming its belief that there should be controls on and reforms to the overall costs of social security, that reporting obligations on full employment, apprenticeships and troubled families are welcome, and that a benefits cap and loans for mortgage interest support are necessary changes to the welfare system, declines to give a Second Reading to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill because the Bill will prevent the Government from continuing to pursue an ambition to reduce child poverty in both absolute and relative terms, it effectively repeals the Child Poverty Act 2010 which provides important measures and accountability of government policy in relation to child poverty, and it includes a proposal for the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance which is an unfair approach to people who are sick and disabled.