Today I watched the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords. The debate lasted more than seven hours; I was not able to follow all of it (After all, I'm not fit for work!) but I did manage to listen to most of it and also to tweet the key points that I heard, as did a few others. See the hashtag
#wrb to catch up on that.
A few things of note:
- Of 55 speakers, only a handful gave their outright support for the bill.
- Nearly every speaker expressed concern about various aspects of the bill, ranging from mild caution up to wild predictions of doom.
- Many of the Lords and Ladies asked for parts of the bill to be significantly amended at the committee stage.
- Many of the speakers noted that they had received a large amount of lobbying, letters and emails concerned about the bill.
- The benefit cap which will badly affect children of large families.
- Under occupancy rules that will uproot families and remove people from support networks.
- The time-limiting of ESA which will leave many people without support before they are well enough to work.
- The arbitrary 20% reduction of the budget for PIP compared to DLA.
- The problems with the Work Capability Assessment, which definitely should not be replicated with PIP assessments.
- The unnecessary stress of testing some people repeatedly in spite of permanent or worsening health problems.
- The removal of the mobility component of DLA from people in care homes.
- The loss of the severe disability premium.
- Lots more, but I'm half dead and can't remember! Please add your own points in the comments.