MPs backed government plans for £12 billion in welfare cuts in the House of Commons yesterday by 308 votes to 124.
The new ‘Welfare Reform and Work Bill’ passed on its second reading and will see significant changes to tax credits, benefits and jobseeker’s allowance.
Labour MPs were told by the party whip to abstain from voting, but 48 rebelled and voted against the controversial bill.
A Labour amendment seeking to derail the legislation was defeated by 308 votes to 208. The amendment supported the benefit cap, but opposed many of the changes to child poverty in the bill.
Labour have said they plan to table a series of individual amendments to the bill as it continues its passage through parliament, to oppose individual elements.
However, if the Welfare Reform and Work Bill goes ahead in its current form, it will:
– Restrict child tax credits to the first two children
– Cut the benefit cap to £20,000 a year, or £23,000 in London
– Cut the income of many sick and disabled people on Employment Support Allowance by £30 per week
– Remove government’s legal requirement to reduce child poverty
– Remove the words “child poverty” from the Child Poverty Act 2010, renaming it the Life Chances Act
In addition to the Labour MPs who did not support the bill, it was opposed by the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.