‘Cruel’ Welfare Bill splits Labour

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Bulwell’s MP has accused Labour colleagues who voted against the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill of ‘posturing’.

Graham Allen described it as ‘appalling’ bill which ‘aggravates the plight of children in low income families’ and said the decision to abstain was a bid to make the bill ‘less bad’.

But the bill, which will cut spending on welfare by £12 billion, was passed in the House of Commons by 308 votes to 124 - with 48 out of 216 Labour MPs ignoring party’s orders to against it.

Mr Allen said: “I supported my party who are opposed to the bill. We are trying to make the bill less bad and reduce the impact on ordinary people. We are there as a battered shield to protect people.

“It’s a thankless task and it’s much easier to just say ‘no’. But I don’t think it will help a single constituent of mine to play to the crowd.”

Cllr Keir Morrison, Ashfield District Council’s housing and asset management cabinet member, said: “This cruel bill will do nothing more than push many thousands of children into poverty.

“Housing benefit will be scrapped for 18-21 year olds which is absolutely reprehensible. This will lead to more people becoming homeless, young families and young people depend on housing benefit to pay crippling private landlord rents and... rough sleeping in Ashfield will no doubt increase.”

He said Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn MP, who voted against the bill, had won his support, ‘along with many other Labour Hucknall, Ashfield and Notts county councillors.

He said: “We feel Jeremy will provide effective opposition to the Tories which is currently deperately lacking.”

Cllr Morrison said: “Instead of targetting the vulnerable young, the disabled and immigrants to pay for a global economic crash which was caused by corrupt capitalism and bankers speculation, I have an idea to put to George Osbourne.

“If you want to bring down the Welfare Bill in the UK re-coup the £35 million per annum that is avoided and evaded by corporations operating in the UK and plough this back into our public services, quality jobs and housing to lift families out of poverty and ‘in work’ poverty.”