Observation Welfare Reform Bill: Government defeated over ESA cuts To do this article justice I have included below:
The coalition government has suffered three defeats in the House of Lords over planned cuts to employment and support allowance (ESA).
Liberal Democrat Baroness Meacher was among several peers to oppose the plans, arguing that the move would condemn young disabled children to a lifetime of means tested benefits.
Peers voted by 260 to 216, majority 44, to ensure disabled children who are unable to work can still receive the benefit, during day three of report stage of the Welfare Reform Bill on 11 January 2012.
Labour shadow welfare minister Lord McKenzie of Luton supported the amendment, telling peers the policy seemed “particularly spiteful”.
But Welfare Minister Lord Freud maintained it was unfair for a young person to continue to get a contributory benefit without having “paid in” – even if they were to inherit a lot of money.
He estimated that 90% of those affected by the change would still get the income-related part of ESA.
The second defeat in the Lords came over plans to impose a one year time-limit on cancer patients claiming ESA.
Peers agreed to crossbench peer Lord Patel’s move to replace the cap with the ability for the government to introduce secondary legislation specifying a limit of not less than two years.
Lord Patel said he understood the need to cut the deficit but added that he was “highly sympath etic to sick and vulnerable people not being subjected to something that will make their lives even more miserable”.
He claimed some people faced losing up to £94 a week as a result of the government’s plans.
Labour supported the idea of a cap but argued it should be sufficient enough to allow people to overcome their illness or disability in order to be able to work.
Welfare minister Lord Freud maintained the policy struck the right balance between restricting access to contributory benefits and allowing those with long-term illnesses to adjust to their condition.
The amendment was passed by 234 votes to 186, a majority of 48.
Peers then passed another of Lord Patel’s amendments, this time to remove the time limit altogether for people while they were undergoing treatment for cancer, by 222 votes to 166 – majority 56.
Ministers may seek to overturn the decisions when the bill returns to the House of Commons.
This is not the first time the coalition has suffered a defeat in the upper chamber over its welfare reform plans.
Last December peers altered a cut to housing benefit for social tenants under-occupying their homes.
What do I see in my crystal ball today. Ah another Coalition defeat in the House of Lords (Welfare Reform Bill).
Instead of the coalition supporting people with disabilities both previous and present government decides it’s better to attack and cut benefits from this vulnerable group of people.
Can someone do me a favor and give the coalition a kick where it hurts, as they never seem to learn their lessons when tackling welfare now they are attacking our Child Benefits.
Anybody who works in the field of nursing will tell you disabilities like mental health, learning and physical disabilities will know where I’m coming from when I say that community psychiatric nurses (CPN) & social workers (SW) has their fair share of work cut out for them when they do home visits to deal with disability living allowances.
Recently there has been a high level of withdrawal of benefits from people who suffers from MH (Mental Health) in Birmingham West Midlands as some person who sits in a comfortable office was quoted by saying that they are able to work.
Whilst CPN and SW have a heavy workload they are faced with additional problems from their employers to meet targets. It’s not a pleasant situation when workers have to deal with this crisis on top of their work.
Why dont the government accept the defeats suffered to its Welfare Bill in the House of Lords and admit that its determination to slash government spending has led it to depths of political depravity.
How “tough” is it to target the most vulnerable and helpless people in society rather than the powerful, privileged and wealthy?
Restricting the right of young people with disabilities and cancer patients to receive the employment and support allowance is about as low as any government can stoop in making people who had no role in causing the current economic crisis pay for it.
Hypocritical as ever, Grayling lectured his intended victims, telling them that “you can’t receive benefits indefinitely, paid for by people on low incomes in work elsewhere.”
The only saving grace of this comment is his unwitting acknowledgement that people on low incomes bear the main burden of taxation, courtesy of the government’s preference for controlling direct taxation, especially for the wealthy, and increasing indirect taxes such as VAT.
Indirect taxation weighs most heavily on the poor as it represents a much higher percentage of their income than it does for the rich. It is regressive rather than progressive, such as a graduated income tax.
Opposition spokesman Liam Byrne nailed the Con-Dem coalition for trying to “cross the basic line of British decency,” but Labour’s difficulty in opposing these heartless proposals lies in its own record in office of mollycoddling rich tax dodgers and its acceptance of the bankers’ cuts agenda.
Liberal Democrat “leader” Nick Clegg, who sold his own and his party’s integrity for the title of deputy prime minister and a few other ministerial posts, claimed in response to the Lords votes that the government was handling its assault on the benefits system “fairly and sensitively.”
Clegg also asserted that he and his new best friends were “getting the balance right,” which is a strange way to describe proposals to strip disabled young people and cancer patients of their entitlement.
To expect decency from this well-heeled government is clearly asking too much, but backbenchers of the two coalition parties should be lobbied to encourage enough of them to rebel against ministerial fixers’ arm-twisting to get them to reverse the changes agreed by the lords.
The decision and the process leading up to it mirror several cases in recent British legal history.
Initial government responses to claims of wrongdoing by its security agents, police or prison staff have been to deny that anything has happened.
After that, in response to leakage of further evidence and possibly a judge-led whitewash inquiry, denial becomes untenable by which time the Crown Prosecution Service concludes that there is insufficient evidence to proceed but reaffirms that what has taken place transgresses British values, could not have been known to the top brass and should not happen in future.