Welfare Reform Bill – next steps

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Welfare Reform Bill – next steps

The coalition government’s Welfare Reform Bill is moving on to its next stage in the House of Lords sooner than expected.

21/09/2011

The Bill will go to Grand Committee in the House of Lords on 4 October, and is then expected to be debated on 6, 10 and 13 October. The Bill proposes the abolition of Disability Living Allowance and replacement with Personal Independence Payment, with the aim of cutting the recipients by 20 per cent, and would create an arbitrary time limit for those receiving contributions-based Employment Support Allowance. It would also usher in a range of other major cuts.

You can help raise the concerns of disabled people by writing to peers in this time. There are a number of disabled peers in particular who have been very active around the Bill.

Both disabled peers and a wide range of disability rights organisations have raised concern about the move of the committee stage of the Bill away from the main chamber of the House of Lords. The government’s decision to move the next stage of discussion into a less accessible venue followed a debate when more than 50 peers spoke out on the Bill. Many relayed the concerns of disabled people across the UK about the negative the Bill would have on disabled people's income and independence.

For the next stage of the Bill you might want to contact members of the House of Lords to tell them why they should vote against proposals in the Bill. Members of the House of Lords are not organised in the same way as MPs: there is no link with a particular constituency. However, one place to start would be with members of the All-Party Committee on Disability.

These include disabled peers like Dame Anne Begg and Baroness Jane Campbell. Or you could write to Lord Colin Low, who has an interest in disabled people or to Lord Freud, who is a government spokesperson for the Bill. You can see members of the All-Party group and a full list of other Peers and how to contact them at the following links:

www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/disability

You can attend debates at the House of Lords by going to the Lords visitors’ gallery, more information is available at: www.parliament.uk/visiting/attend/debates

You can get more news, information about the next stage of the Bill and activities at the following links:

www.parliament.uk/business/news/2011/september/welfare-reform-bill-2nd-reading

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/welfarereform

www.disabilitynewsservice.com

You can get information on future activities at the following link:

www.disabilityalliance.org/dbchard3

You can find background information on several aspects of the Bill on Inclusion London’s website, including our information paper on the Bill:

www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/Welfare-Reform-Bill-info-paper