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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

House of Lords peg back Tory plans to penalise the disabled, again

How the Tories must regret not agreeing to Nick Clegg's plans to democratise the House of Lords. There would be no guarantee of course that they would be able to fare any better in getting their plans agreed by an elected second chamber, but the odds must better than those they face at present.

This though is a good thing as it enables Liberal Democrat peers to work with other opposition parties and cross-benchers to frustrate some of the more extreme measures coming out of this Tory government. I am pleased that the latest example of this is over cuts to disabled benefits.

The Independent reports that the House of Lords has, for a second time, rebuffed the government’s welfare reform bill proposals to slash £30 a week from the benefits of ill and disabled people who have been found unfit for work.

On Monday evening peers voted 289 and 219 to delay the cuts, which could see benefits reduced by over £1,500 a year, pending a parliamentary report on the impact on claimants:

Elliott Dunster, head of policy at the disability charity Scope, said to the Guardian: “Disabled people are pushing to find jobs and get on at work, but they continue to face huge barriers, from employer attitudes to inaccessible workplaces.

“Reducing disabled people’s incomes won’t incentivise them to find a job. It will just make life harder.”

It was proposals like these that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats blocked whilst in the coalition government. Now we need to rely on the House of Lords to do that job.
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