On the 20th July the Bill had its second reading in Parliament. This is the beginning of a long process which is only concluded when the Bill returns to Parliament.
I voted against the Bill by supporting the Labour amendment which is worded as follows:
That this House, whilst affirming its belief that there should be controls on and reforms to the overall costs of social security, that reporting obligations on full employment, apprenticeships and troubled families are welcome, and that a benefits cap and loans for mortgage interest support are necessary changes to the welfare system, declines to give a Second Reading to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill because the Bill will prevent the Government from continuing to pursue an ambition to reduce child poverty in both absolute and relative terms, it effectively repeals the Child Poverty Act 2010 which provides important measures and accountability of government policy in relation to child poverty, and it includes a proposal for the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance which is an unfair approach to people who are sick and disabled.
This was defeated by 308 votes to 208. Labour abstained on a second vote.
The cuts to tax credits affecting three million people were not in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. They will be considered in the autumn and I will oppose them.
The next stage of the Bill will be heard in committee. Labour has already tabled detailed amendments opposing specific proposals. These include opposing the abolition of child poverty targets and cuts in support for disabled and sick people who are not fit for work.
The Bill will return to the House of Commons for a final decision after these amendments have been considered.
Many of the provisions in this Bill will hit struggling families hard. I will continue to oppose the attacks on hard working and vulnerable people.