Welfare Reform Bill Is Unfair

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16 Jun 2011

Yesterday in Parliament I voted against the Welfare Reform Bill as I believe the Government’s welfare changes are bad for families and unfair on the vulnerable.

I strongly back welfare reform that gets people back to work and makes work pay. I am clear on what our welfare system should do - reward work and protect the most vulnerable people in our society. However the changes the Government is bringing in are a leap in the dark for millions of people who get help with childcare, are saving for the future or are self-employed.

I seriously object to the proposal to cut off contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) after just 12 months because this will hit people recovering from cancer. This is a benefit that people have paid in for. Now when people need it most, the Government are taking it away. I believe ESA should be reformed, but it is fundamentally wrong to ask people battling cancer to start filling in job applications.

The Government are also showing indifference to the needs of millions of people who need vital support, as they are pressing ahead with the removal of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for those who live in residential care. Disabled people and their families have told me that this will hugely affect their ability to get out of their care homes and visit friends and family.