Parliament & Politics: Welfare - Labour peers queue up to attack benefit cuts
Friday 11 June 1999
Lord Ashley of Stoke, the long-time campaigner for disabled rights, confirmed that he would introduce amendments to reverse the reduction and means- testing of incapacity benefits during its committee stage.
Speaking during the second reading debate of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill, Lord Ashley appealed to the Government to reconsider. "I cannot believe that a Labour government would want to introduce cuts to the most vulnerable in society," he said.
Lord Ashley's amendment, which is similar to the one put forward by Labour backbenchers in the Commons, is likely to be overwhelmingly supported be peers and further embarrass the Government.
Tony Blair suffered an earlier setback to his plans for welfare reform when 67 Labour backbenchers voted against the cuts, and others abstained.
During the debate, Lord Ashley's concern was echoed by Baroness Castle of Blackburn, the former Cabinet minister, who said it was unbelievable that "poor disabled" would have to be supported by "less poor disabled people".
But, opening the debate, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, the junior social security minister, defended the legislation, stressing no existing claimant would be affected by the changes.
"Incapacity benefit was and is intended to be an earnings replacement benefit when illness or disability unfortunately forces people to stop work.
"However, over the past 20 years, it has become for many an unemployment benefit."
Four out of 10 claimants were previously unemployed and someone who had worked for only six months and been unemployed for 20 years could claim it. "We don't believe that's right," she said.
She confirmed that Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Social Security, was prepared to review whether the pounds 50-a-week pension threshold for the means-testing of incapacity benefits was set at the right level.
Lord Higgins, for the Tories, said: "In our view the principle involved here is wrong. We are very concerned indeed at the way in which the question of entitlement to incapacity benefit is going to be reduced because people have been prudent enough to provide for a pension."
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Israel to appropriate 400 hectares in West Bank for ‘state use’
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...