Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Welfare Reform Bill - You Can Act!

Tomorrow the Welfare Reform Bill will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons. The Government are seeking to overturn the amendments passed in the Lords. As I write another amendment protecting disabled children has just been passed in the Lords against the Government's will.

The principle that all who play by the rules should receive enough to meet their basic needs has been at the heart of the welfare system for 65 years; if the benefit cap becomes law that principle will be destroyed. Only families whose basic needs are less than £26,000 will be safe. The rare and extremely vulnerable families who have greater needs will be left behind

The principle is wrong and the best predictions are that the effects will be equally wrong.The government’s proposed benefit cap will hit many of the most vulnerable people in society. It will affect 220,000 children (75% of those affected) and 14,740 families where Employment and Support Allowance (a disability benefit) is the main household income. It threatens to make over 80,000 children homeless and will push 133,000 children into poverty or further into poverty.
The Bishops amendment, carried in the House of Lords removes Child Benefit from the calculation. The effect would be to remove most of the families with children from the cap. The amendment was supported by children's charities, churches, faith groups , no-faith groups and many others because injustice of impoverishing children because of an arbitrary limit is obvious and painful.

The Methodist, Baptist, Quaker, and United Reformed Churches jointly wrote to every MP, explaining their objection to the principle of the Benefit Cap and urging them not to overturn the Bishop's amendment in tomorrows debate.

If you wish to contact your MP to express your concerns about the Welfare Reform Bill press the Church Action on Poverty button below. The emailer link will ask for your email address (for replies) and  your street address (to find your MP). It will then offer you a draft email which you can edit or accept as is before sending it to your MP with one more click.

Click to Email Your MP

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