Labour to vote against ruinous Welfare Bill


8:30 am - June 14th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

It is being rumoured that Ed Miliband will ask Labour MPs to vote against the government’s Welfare Reform Bill at its third reading today.

Labour spokespeople told the Independent the bill would penalise people who “did the right thing”.

If true, it would represent a break-through for many campaigners who have been warning Labour MPs for months that the Bill contained many measures that could ruin people’s lives.

However, a Labour revolt is unlikely to stop the Welfare Reform Bill from passing through Parliament, as Libdems are likely to support it.

Update: This is what I’ve received from the party on why they’re voting against it.

Labour will be voting “no” to the Welfare Reform Bill because, “the bill fails on compassion and fails on creating work”.

It doesn’t support ambition to work because it will:
* Give a lack of clarity on what childcare support would be available for thousands of working families
* Penalise working families who save money for their future, as the Universal Credit will be taken away from anyone with savings of £16,000 and above
* Disadvantage mothers by paying the Universal Credit to households rather than the main carer, risking taking away money from children
* Create worrying uncertainty over who will be eligible for free school meals for their children

The bill doesn’t support compassion because it will:
* Take money away from vulnerable people who live in care homes
* Cut support for cancer sufferers and people with mental health conditions after just 12 months.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Don’t bank on it after Miliband’s speech http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2011/06/13/ed-miliband-responsibility-speech-in-full The first paragraphs of which boil down to “even the genuinely sick are scroungers” Bug-eyed scumbag flogging the rotting corpse of New Labour

2. donpaskini

Yes, Labour will vote against the Welfare Reform Bill. Here’s Liam Byrne (!!) last night:

“Their [the Tories’] analysis says let the welfare state become a safety net for the worst case scenario.

The result is a bill that frankly we will vote against because it is at once an attack on ambition and an assault on compassion…

…If they [the Lib Dems] share our progressive values they should join us in defeating the Welfare Reform Bill this week.”

http://progressonline.org.uk/articles/article.asp?a=8301

3. Alisdair Cameron

@ 1 Schmidt has it right. Ed Milibamd’s speech was especially dismaying on welfare (as I warned Sunny it would be on Twitter).
“He hadn’t been able to work since he was injured doing his job.
It was a real injury, and he was obviously a good man who cared for his children.
But I was convinced that there were other jobs he could do.”
That’s pure Purnell and could have been said by Chris Grayling.We’ve had over 30 years of ‘welfare crackdowns’ based on such a ‘feeling’. Miliband’s speech is just the latest example of attempting to reassure voters that ‘They’ are being dealt with severely.
“I was convinced”. Not that there was solid medical evidence. Simply the default assumption that anyone on IB (and let’s not even get into the witless current dialogue where politicians regularly muddle IB/ESA with DLA) shouldn’t be on it. You know, the malign underpinning assumptions that have led to the national scandal of atos assessments.
Perhaps his intentions are good, but he’s playing along with rhetoric in a narrative set by the neo-liberal, by the pro-workfare demonisers.All talk of abuse and yet none of the overwhelming majority of claimants for whom the benefits are a vital and necessary lifeline.
A Labour vote against the 3rd reading would be hypocritical (given it’s but a direct extension of Purnell’s line) and shallow gesturing of the worst type. Campaigns have implored Labour to reject its complicity in the direction of travel, yet response came there none. Now, when it’s too late, and the die’s been cast, only now does Labour pretend to have some qualms.

4. Alisdair Cameron

@ 3 Don, Byrne talks about a tougher regime. And of course keeps going back (like a dog to a turd) about the Australian workfare scheme. Shame it doesn’t work.
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/11/10/dwps-own-research-shows-worfare-doesnt-work/

There was a silmilar story on the BBC the other day about the number of people on incapacity benefit for ten years or more. The implied claim being, that no disability can last ten years without spontaneously healing.

Hi Alastair,

Kate Green has a good article on all this, Labour should bin Liam and make her DWP lead:

http://progressonline.org.uk/columns/column.asp?c=697

Actually, Ed Mili’s speech yesterday was quite good, for reasons set out here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/13/ed-miliband-speech-welfare-responsiblity

AC @ 1

@ 1 Schmidt has it right. Ed Milibamd’s speech was especially dismaying on welfare (as I warned Sunny it would be on Twitter).

A missed opportunity from a spokesman for the ‘free market’ and ‘capitalist as benefactors’ think tank called Labour.

His speech should have continued:

‘… I was convinced that the man could do other work. My long experience of the labour market, and the needs of employers meant I could spot the job he was capable of.

In fact I was so convinced of that fact, that I would support any legislation that took this man in a car to the biggest employer within a ten-mile radius of his house and force them to employ him, irrespective of his talents or abilities. Not only that, but I would expect that employer to adapt their working conditions to accommodate that man in his predicament. Of course any attempt to sack him either directly or via ‘spurious’ reasons to sack him will be met with the best legal brains in the Country. We will implement legislation to ensure that no-one will lose their job just because they are deemed ‘unfit’ for work by some Politically Correct woman in HR allowing a staff member the easy option. Once you are declared ‘fit for work’ you will be found work among the private sector.

For too long, we have painted the private sector as the nasty boys in the economy. People who would destroy lives to make a few quid profit. Well I know this to be untrue. Everyday in my office I get phonecalls from Tescos, ASDA et al asking us to fill jobs that the sick could do. They would like to employ more people, if only they would turn up at interviews. Well no longer, we will employ Atos to tell us who are fit for work and hey Presto, Monday morning they will have a job’.

Hi Lisa,

Excellent posts – agree with all of that.

Don

I too liked Kate Green’s article on Progress Online.

However, one key question are left unanswered –

– how does government create jobs?

Another piece of misinformation was also highlighted that Labour in government ensured work paid. Well that is factually wrong- I have had the pleasure of being part of a series of roundtables around the country between 2008 – 2010 on welfare reform with council officers and on each one it was pointed out that if someone moved to work from benefits then they lose out heavily including right to get trained.

So arguing that Labour policies were focused on making work pay is disingenuous and is most likely fail to resonate with the electorate.

I still believe neither the leadership nor the activists are really talking with the electorate – instead we are getting caught up in a conversation with ourselves and risk being irrelevant.

I can tell you exactly how the Tories are going to play the vote against welfare reform – they would say their leader yesterday told the country he wants work to pay and today they vote en masse to keep the existing failing benefits system.

Internally people would defend it properly but the electorate does not have the time or the inclination to go through the message. Instead they would pile this as just another contradiction.

I don’t think we are making a case. And when i say we – all of us on blogs and activists and labour sympathisers are failing to do so along with the leadership. We are too focused on navel gazing and fighting of Blairite – Brownite battles. And we are also too quick to dismiss Blair – this is the guy who won three elections in a row. Yes he has faults but when Mehdi hasan writes Blair has nothing to advice the labour party of today – he is shunning the most successful labour leader and that just makes us look naff.

Btw, I fully agree with what Lisa has written on her posts.

@13 Shamit:

Point of clarity: I only wrote the first of those 2 WtB posts; the second was written by DavidG.

@12 How does government create jobs?

It could try a public works programme. The country’s infrastructure is dropping to bits. £13 billion of potholes need repairing in Britain’s roads for a start, British housing is now being replaced at such a slow rate that existing houses will have to last longer than the pyramids. Green tech is a growing market with worldwide potential. Believe it or not Britain does still make some good items, its just rubbish at appealing to the mid/lower end of the market where the money is, better management and access to financing are desperately needed if Britain is ever to export in volume. Government can borrow money at lower rates than private industry so it could tackle the huge problems facing the country, lower unemployment and the money spent would stimulate private industry by increased demand for industrial and consumer products and feed back to the government by increased taxes.

Blair may have been successful in winning elections but he achieved so little apart from the minimum wage. I would remind you that the Tories were so unpopular in 1997 that Michael Foot would have won by a landslide. Blair did not allow the railways to come back into public ownership (which could have been achieved at no cost by letting the franchises die), he kept on with the ruinous PFI, ran his government like a medieval court where his favourites were unsackable and parliament was rendered impotent by policy advisors, he failed to spot the financial bubble and even encouraged it, failed to regulate the privatised utilities that are bleeding the country dry and bent over backwards to accomodate every mad demand from America and the EU. By the time of his removal he was so absolutely crackers that he believed his own lies and like most liars he was utterly guillible. Labour could have redeemed the situation by changing tack with innovate thinking but the same old policies were delivered with a Scottish snarl instead of a simpering grin.

Scapegoating any powerless minority is dangerous as well as morally repugnant, it buys short term popularity but always has unforeseen consequences. Pogroms and genocide may be a way off but already the hate crime levels against the disabled are already at alarming levels. Would we accept gay or black people being abused in the street? Pre-Purnell the OECD reckoned British disability benefits were among the most difficult to claim in the Western world and the government’s own figures prove fraud is less than 1%.

Miliband needs to stand against the tide of bigotry and point out the facts, point out that social security is a safety net any one of us could need at any moment. The disabled need help to get work, not punishment. I remember when Labour used to taunt the Tories by asking is how much unemployment is a price worth paying, I’d like to know how many destitute, terrified or dead disabled are a price worth paying

“And we are also too quick to dismiss Blair – this is the guy who won three elections in a row.”

Interestingly on this, no one seems prepared to defend one of Tony Blair’s greatest achievements – the reductions in child poverty. It was Blair who made the pledge around child poverty (much to the disgruntlement at the time of his neighbour), and while it didn’t meet the ambitious targets in full, it was the most successful poverty reduction programme in the Western world of the past quarter century, including helping hundreds of thousands of parents into work.

The pillars of the successful approach were:

“an increase in the national minimum wage, tax incentives to encourage single parents to move into paid employment, increased public benefits for parents, provision of universal preschool, and regulations making it easier for parents of young children to request flexible work schedules.”

Maybe this kind of approach could be extended to address poverty amongst other groups of people?

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 Sunny

“Actually, Ed Mili’s speech yesterday was quite good, for reasons set out here”

Sunny, he did exactly the same thing we always criticise the right for: pointed out that a disabled person probably could do some job or other, but didn’t seem to realise/care how much harder that will be for them than it is for most of us. Not only does a disabled person have a shorter list of jobs they can do, but it’s often harder for them to get into even those jobs that they CAN do (because diabilities can be generally offputting or make you inflexible).

Here’s the charming statement in full:

“While out campaigning during the local elections, not for the first time, I met someone who had been on incapacity benefit for a decade. He hadn’t been able to work since he was injured doing his job.

It was a real injury, and he was obviously a good man who cared for his children. But I was convinced that there were other jobs he could do.

And that it’s just not right for the country to be supporting him not to work, when other families on his street are working all hours just to get by.”

Ed agreed that the guy had been injured, agreed that he was a good person – then declared him fit to work based on I know not what medical expertise, and immediately started whinging about the guy being a drain on resources.

Blindly supporting such a callous statement just because Ed Milliband said it is not helpful.

Shamit 12 @ Schmidt @ 15

– how does government create jobs?

The standout answer is of course, by returning many of the jobs exported oversees in the last ten years. Too many banks, insurers etc have offshored call centre jobs into Asia over the last decade or so. Surely we could, given the huge bail out we paid to bankers and by extension others within the finance World, we could force them all to reopen call centres in this Country? We are even shareholders in these companies, so would it be a major hardship to re-open call centres and take the sick and the disabled and put them into a call centre?

19. Alisdair Cameron

@ 17, Chaise Guevara
“Ed agreed that the guy had been injured, agreed that he was a good person – then declared him fit to work based on I know not what medical expertise, and immediately started whinging about the guy being a drain on resources.

Blindly supporting such a callous statement just because Ed Milliband said it is not helpful.”
+1.

The real question Ed should be asking is why other families are working and struggling to get by.

“I met someone who had been on incapacity benefit for a decade….”

This sounds like bullshit to me.

He seems to have got to know this guy particularly well in the space of a few minutes electioneering.

I say this as I live in the next street to Ed Miliband in north London (albeit I’m in a council flat and, errr, he’s not) and I have never seen the bugger in the flesh.

This seems odd to me as there are quite a few well known people I regularly see round here, but not him.

Maybe symbolic of a greater truth eh?

(And I am reminded of Osboure’s fictional hard grafter who gets the hump every day “because as he goes to work in the morning, he sees his neighbour’s curtains still drawn as he sleeps” – Oh yeah? Rich, not to say, fruity (as the late Alan Watkins would write) from Gideon who has never had a proper job in his miserable existence.)

@ Jim 18:

Jim,

If I am not mistaken RBS including Natwest has already brought all its call centres back in the UK and HBOS only had call centres in Scotland. I do not know about Lloyds but even if they did so it would not take up much of the slack.

But these banks are far less successful than those who did not take any help from the public purse such as Barclays and HSBC.

You want to legislate on where Banks can have their operational staff and then let government enforce it. While I belive that government is a force for good and its job is to ensure everyone plays by the rules – I don’t think it is a good idea for example to let ministers and Whitehall to dictate operational strategies to businesses.

It would be a recipe for disaster. Over the last couple of months, we have noticed private sector employment picking up including full time work – a large part of the unemployment is structural where almost a million people have been out of work for a long time.

Another big problem is youth unemployment – and there is a structural element in there too. Youth unemployment has been a persistent problem despite government interventions especially during Labour years.

This is despite having a record public sector workforce – so once again I fail to understand how government can create jobs directly? It can create environments that generate jobs and growth but there are a lot of unknowns and the relationship is not linear.

New Labour has a shameful record on reforming education structures to bring on more with industrial vocational skills when Gordon Brown campaigned on that very issue in the run up to the 1997 election. Blunkett screwed up on the manifesto plans to create an online University for Industry (UfI).

Manufacturing presently contributes about a quarter of Germany’s GDP, which is about twice the contribution that manufacturing makes to Britain’s GDP – after 13 years of New Labour government when there was finance enough to pay for all those exciting wars Blair kept engaging us in. Britain’s largest manufacturing company, BA Systems, makes armaments. It seems ludicrous to me that in terms of Britain’s annual miltary budget, we are the fourth largest military power in the world.

The bug-eyed freak is having a webchat today http://edmiliband.org/2011/06/14/ed-miliband-webchat-on-twitter-wed-15th-may-5pm-askedm/ Ask him about his medical training and why he’s pandering to the Daily Mail

Shamit @ 23

The government is already trying to impose unrealistic expectations on people with disabilities to find work. They appear to be able to comment on the labour market. Surely if they expecting someone with a long term illness to find work, they are, in effect, trying to impose their will on the operational needs of business anyway?

What I saw of Miliband’s webchat was a complete waste of time. He’s shaping up to be a tower of jelly.

Here’s one of the best pieces I’ve read in recent weeks concerning welfare “reform” http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2011/06/14/debbie-jolly-billion-pound-welfare-reform-fraud-fit-work/


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  2. Political Animal

    RT @libcon: Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? http://bit.ly/jKRMGA <QTWTAIY

  3. BendyGirl

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2dXqZpw via @libcon

  4. sunny hundal

    Is Labour planning to vote against the ruinous Welfare Bill? I hope so. Newspaper reports it will http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  5. paulstpancras

    RT @libcon: Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? http://bit.ly/jKRMGA <QTWTAIY

  6. ANDREW JENNINGS

    Is Labour planning to vote against the ruinous Welfare Bill? I hope so. Newspaper reports it will http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  7. neilrfoster

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  8. Stew Wilson

    Is Labour planning to vote against the ruinous Welfare Bill? I hope so. Newspaper reports it will http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  9. Matt Jeffs

    Is Labour planning to vote against the ruinous Welfare Bill? I hope so. Newspaper reports it will http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  10. Tony Dowling

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  11. Fiona Nicholson

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2dXqZpw via @libcon

  12. Fiona Nicholson

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2dXqZpw via @libcon

  13. Jill Hayward

    Is Labour planning to vote against the ruinous Welfare Bill? I hope so. Newspaper reports it will http://bit.ly/jKRMGA

  14. Broken OfBritain

    Will Labour vote against ruinous Welfare Bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/2dXqZpw via @libcon

  15. sunny hundal

    Labour to vote against ruinous Welfare Bill because it 'fails on compassion and on creating work' http://bit.ly/jKRMGA update from morning

  16. UKFreeNews

    Labour to vote against ruinous Welfare Bill because it 'fails on compassion and on creating work' http://bit.ly/jKRMGA update from morning

  17. Mabel Horrocks

    Labour to vote against ruinous Welfare Bill because it 'fails on compassion and on creating work' http://bit.ly/jKRMGA update from morning

  18. Rosa Edwards

    @andy_s_64 @uklabour http://t.co/GkGYVoL The Govt had a majority of 50

  19. Looming strikes, cuts for cancer patients and the Ed and Dave show: round up of political blogs for 11 – 17 June | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] on news that Labour have voted ‘no’ to the Welfare Reform Bill on account of the fact that it ‘fails on compassion and fails on creating work’.Labour List discusses responsibility and […]

  20. sunny hundal

    @LadySTinkleBlow erm…. http://t.co/8exAW2TB





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.