some default text...

“What has suddenly changed in the lives of these individuals that they are suddenly fit enough or not fit enough to work? The beauty of this intermediate WRAG group is that it is just that, intermediate. On the road to returning to work, but not quite there yet. Recovering from chemotherapy, but needing to keep the heating on that little bit more. Many people who are ill are desperate to work, but need to be supported financially until their health improves. There are also structural and economic barriers standing in their way; reducing financial support only serves to create a further hurdle to be overcome. Many of these people have worked and paid in for many years before falling ill. They deserve better than this.

The voters who trusted us”—

that is, Conservative Members—

“to build a fairer society deserve better than this.”

I pay tribute to the hon. Lady and her colleagues who are thinking about supporting the Lords amendments. I desperately hope that those whom I have mentioned have been working on colleagues to join us in the Lobby later.

The issues at stake regarding ESA WRAG and universal credit work allowance are the very same issues as those with the cuts to tax credits, on which many Conservative Members honourably lobbied hard. The measure will impact on low-income families and on disabled people who are looking for work. The cut will, according to the organisations mentioned, including the Equality Trust and Citizens Advice Scotland, disincentivise people from going into work.

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill may well be the best example of doublespeak outside Orwell’s texts. The fact is that the Bill, as the Government would amend it, is unfit for work. The assessment of third sector associations, Opposition parties and the House of Lords is that the Lords amendments must remain. We have seen the Government forced through the courts into a welcome U-turn on the benefit cap for carers. They have also been told by the courts that the bedroom tax is discriminatory for disabled people. The UN is investigating the Government’s welfare cuts. Disabled people should not need the High Court to tell the Tories what is right and what is wrong.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 214

This is our last opportunity to oppose the Government’s plan to stop measuring child poverty, and to oppose their shameful attempts to slash by £30 a week support for people who are unable to work because of ill health or disability—a proposal that is vindictive and woefully lacks the evidence base to support it. I hope that Members across the House will think carefully and consider the impact that their vote will have on the lives of people up and down these isles. Having considered that, there is only one course of action open to us today—to oppose the Government’s shameful proposals and support the Lords amendments.

4 pm

Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire) (Con): I rise to speak to Lords amendments 8 and 9. Reforming our welfare state was one of the greatest challenges facing the previous coalition Government and it continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing this Government. We are making phenomenal progress, with record levels of employment, and the Welfare Reform and Work Bill is unquestionably at the heart of this transformation.

Welfare needed to change. I saw the restrictions it placed on the aspirational potential of so many capable people. In my business, I had bright employees shackled to the state by the impenetrable barrier of the 16 hours of employment. I know some doubt the power of universal credit to transform lives, but as a member of the Work and Pensions Committee I have seen it operate. I am in absolutely no doubt that it marks the beginning of a new age, in which the individual and the state are partners in the future opportunities of the individual and their family.

Yet I feel an uncomfortable sense of déjà vu. Change needs to happen—but in a way for which those affected can prepare. We are debating whether we should cut the ESA WRAG allowance, which is typically provided to about 500,000 people recovering from significant illness as they transition from ill health to being fit to work. The Department for Work and Pensions talks about a White Paper that will set out its strategy of offering a different kind of support to help such people return to work, and some £100 million will apparently be made available by 2020-21. I listened intently to the Minister for reassurance about how that money will be spent. I acknowledge that she mentioned that a taskforce drawn from the Department and charities will be set up, but that should have happened before decisions were made to reduce financial support. I am uncomfortable about agreeing to the cuts until I know what the new world will look like for such people.

I do not believe mentoring and support alone will heat the home of someone recovering from chemotherapy or help the man with Parkinson’s who needs a little bit of extra help. I remain unconvinced that these people do not also have financial needs. The DWP states that many people stay stuck in the WRAG for too long—up to two years—but I would question its conclusion that they are financially incentivised to stay in that group. For me, the fact that they are stuck in that group says more about the failure of DWP processes than about claimants’ active choices. People in that group do not have an easy time of it. They must demonstrate an appetite to transition towards work, and they can be sanctioned if they do not do so. Anyone who has beaten

23 Feb 2016 : Column 215

cancer must surely burst with the desire to return to a normal life and be unlikely to want to be labelled as a cancer sufferer for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

From 2017, about 270 disabled people in my constituency of South Cambridgeshire alone stand to lose £30, or 29%, of their weekly income, if we accept the Bill in its original form and ignore the Lords. For them, I need to see more detail of the contents of the White Paper and to hear more about the financial support that will be made available before I can fully support the Government. If we do not get this right, we will damage not just the employment prospects and wellbeing of these vulnerable claimants, but our reputation and trust among the electorate. To secure my trust, I need to believe in the White Paper and that the £100 million will go some way to help those people. That is my warning shot to the Government. Today, I will not support them. I may abstain, but only for today. Let us get the detail right. Let us be a Government of sweeping strategic change, but let us also be one with the compassion and dexterity to look after the little man too.

Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): One of the big changes in this Parliament compared with previous ones is that when we debate welfare reform there are now too many speakers, whereas in previous Parliaments the Whips had the key job of pushing colleagues in to speak. I will try to speak briefly.

I am immensely pleased to follow the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen) not only because of the role she plays in the House, but because of the particular role she plays on the Work and Pensions Committee, of which I am also a member. Like her, I will speak in favour of Lords amendments 8 and 9, but I question whether the Lords are right in amendment 1.

I do so not because I think in any way that it is not necessary for us to consider more regularly whether people who are out of work in our society have an adequate level of income. Most of us would find it near impossible to live on the scale rates, as they are cruelly called, that we give to people who are out of work. The fact that millions do so is a credit to their budgeting skills, which most of us do not possess. However, this debate is about more than what the minimum income is. It is about a strategy to prevent us forever and a day debating in the House of Commons the number of people who are poor in this country.

I do not know, but it may be that the report that the Prime Minister asked me to write, “The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults”, will play a small part in the Government’s strategy on life chances. I argued that although income is important, merely measuring income is inadequate if we are successfully to counter the extent of poverty in our country. We ought to look at the drivers of poverty.

As soon as I embarked on that analysis, I was struck by the information that was volunteered by the reception teachers I visited in different parts of the country. They could predict within a very short space of time—within the first half term of school—where children would end up. They could say quite confidently who would be head girl, who would find it easy to fly in this world, who would struggle and who would fail. That got me thinking about whether we needed to move beyond merely measuring poverty as the great driver of poverty and to look at life chances.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 216

Dr Blackman-Woods: Does my right hon. Friend accept that all Lords amendment 1 does is to require that income-based measures of poverty be reported alongside and on a level footing with other life chances indicators? They would not be reported instead of, but in addition to, those other indicators.

Frank Field: The report that I issued made that very point. It said that we should continue to publish the poverty data and that, alongside them, we should have the life chances data.

Of course, there is much more to this debate than what is on the record. Historically, there has been a big divide between those who see money as the only agent to counter poverty—it clearly makes it easier for people if they have more money—and those who ask whether money actually transforms life chances in the way we wish. That is the question that I posed. Specifically, we wanted to know, while taking account of the importance of income and class in determining life chances, whether there were drivers of poverty more powerful even than income and class. The report lists the most powerful factors when income and class are held constant—those factors that enable us to make progress even if we are not making the progress that we would like to see on a fairer distribution of income.

Again, I make a plea to the House. Although we ought to debate the adequacy of the minimum levels of income, Opposition Members and the many Government Members who are disturbed by the growing and gross inequalities in our society must not think that we will deal with those through benefit changes, important though they are. Throughout the western world, there are clearly great engine drivers of inequality that serve up to the rich—particularly to the very, very rich—rewards that are grotesque when compared with the average, let alone with those who earn the least in our communities. There is no debate about that. The debate is about where, at any given point in time, we should put taxpayers’ money. Up to now, everybody has been talking about this as though the Government have money. Governments have to tax our constituents to get money to redistribute it, and we must win people’s support for that.

The House is beginning slowly to accept that it is dangerous to have a welfare system that is more generous to those out of work than to those in work, which is why I particularly welcome the Chancellor’s strategy of moving towards a living wage and implementing that over the life of the Parliament. It is only a beginning, but it is very important. If we are successful in moving to that living wage without big unemployment consequences—I believe that we will be—that will give us more freedom to manoeuvre on where benefit levels should be set.

My plea is that we should not think that this is either one thing or the other. The Government will publish the data, and I am sure that if we had a chat to them they could do so alongside the life chances data. That is not really what the debate is about; the debate is about those who believe that the only agent of change is on the income front, and I do not wish to concede ground to anyone in emphasising the importance of income, especially for those at the bottom of the pile who are working or who are not working. We have the report on the foundation years, and if we are serious about trying to prevent poor children from becoming poor adults,

23 Feb 2016 : Column 217

we need a different strategy from the one we adopted until that point. It was all about cash transfers—important as those are—and I thought it was inadequate.

Reception teachers said that by the time children come to school they already know who is going to succeed and who will not. I also started asking other people such as health visitors whether they could tell us which children entering toddlerhood would be successful in later life. Midwives have clear views when mothers turn up for their first scan about who has drawn the short straw and who has not. If we are serious about this strategy—I make this plea to the Government because we will need powers to add these measurements once we have agreed on them—we must measure whether we are increasing life chances by having more parents who are ready for the birth of their child, whether the interventions that we make after that will be successful and see more children successfully enter toddlerhood, and above all whether more children are entering school ready to benefit from the powers of education.

Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) (SNP): Is measuring at key stage 4 when a young person is 16 so utterly after the horse has bolted that it will not make any impact? Teachers report a year’s difference in a child’s ability to communicate and learn by the time they are five, and we need to change that. No Opposition Members are talking about money or life chances; most of us are arguing for both.

Frank Field: The genuineness of the hon. Lady in making that point shows how the debate is changing—it was not always about that issue and I am grateful for her intervention. Let me re-emphasise her point. I was staggered when the Secretary of State said that one of children’s key life chances is at age 16, given that he has done more than anybody in the House to teach us about how crucial life chances are before age five, if we are really to change people’s opportunities and allow them to develop their best selves. I hope that when we conclude the debate, the Minister will say more about how important it is to weight those life chances before age five. By all means we should measure children at 16 and all sorts of other ages if we wish, but if we are serious about changing the life chances of the very poorest children in our constituencies, we must consider a series of life chances long before they reach school. Every reception teacher I met would say that life chances have been decided by the time that children come into school.

I welcome how the debate has developed in the past 10 years, and I hope I have stated clearly why I think the Lords are mistaken with Lords amendment 1, and how much I agree with the case put by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), and by the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen) who stated her support for Lords amendments 8 and 9.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: I was going to call Mr Maynard.

Paul Maynard: I have already spoken.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 218

Mr Speaker: Ah, I did not realise the fellow had already spoken. [Interruption.] No, no, I do not think he needs to repeat his speech! He was on the list, but had not been ticked off it. Never mind. We will hear from another fellow instead, Mr Peter Heaton-Jones.

4.15 pm

Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon) (Con): It is a particular pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field), who speaks with unrivalled expertise on these matters. I agree with his fundamental point. I speak to oppose Lords amendment 1, which seeks to amend clause 4, as passed by this House. I do so as a member of the Bill Committee that scrutinised the Bill—during 15 sittings or so, if I recall—last autumn. Clause 4, as passed by this House, introduces a new duty for the Secretary of State to report annually on two Life Chances measures: first, the proportion of children living in workless households; and secondly, as has been mentioned, their educational attainment at age 16. In effect, therefore, it repeals most of the Child Poverty Act 2010.

The Lords amendments in effect seek to replicate the parts of the 2010 Act that relate to the measurement of the proportion of children living in poverty. In particular, their lordships’ amendments seek to require the Secretary of State to report on four specific measures: relative low income; combined low income and material deprivation; absolute low income; and persistent poverty.

However, the Bill, as passed by this House, does not mean that the Government will stop measuring and publishing such data on household income. The Government will continue to publish annually low-income data in Households Below Average Income. Those data include—Members may get a sense of déjà vu all over again—relative low income, combined low income and material deprivation. They probably ring bells, because those categories replicate almost exactly the measurements that the amendments from the other place seek to reinstate in the Bill. To put it simply, the Government are already doing it. The information is available for all to see and will continue to be so. The HBAI publication has protected status as a national statistics product and Ministers have undertaken in this House to publish the data annually. Lords amendment 1 is—I say this with the greatest respect—simply unnecessary. Its effect would merely be to replicate something the Government are already doing.

Neil Gray: My understanding, with all due respect to the hon. Gentleman, is that there is no statutory obligation on that reporting. There is certainly no statutory obligation to eradicate child poverty by a specified time, which is crucial.

Peter Heaton-Jones: The Government have made a commitment to continue to publish the data annually. They have been very clear about that fact. When it comes to the relationship between those measurements and the eradication of child poverty, under the previous Labour Government the number of households where nobody worked doubled and in-work poverty increased: the Government missed their child poverty target by 600,000.

The Bill, as passed by this House, does not redefine poverty to exclude income, as some of its opponents often say. That argument assumes that measuring income

23 Feb 2016 : Column 219

is an effective, helpful or comprehensive way of measuring poverty in the first place. It is, in fact, none of those things. In that respect, the 2010 Act was flawed in its approach. The current income measures enshrined in the Act show that the number of children in relative poverty can actually go down in a recession and up in times of growth. That is simply perverse. Furthermore, the measures incentivise what is often known as a “poverty plus a pound” approach, where families can seemingly be moved out of poverty without any change whatever in the underlying factors that got them into the position of low income in the first place. The Act is simply not doing what it is intended to do.

Kevin Foster (Torbay) (Con): It is interesting to hear my hon. Friend’s points. Does he agree that under current measures the only way completely to eliminate relative poverty would be to collapse the economy completely and make absolutely everyone poor?

Peter Heaton-Jones: It sounds like my hon. Friend has been reading the Labour party’s manifesto. The 2010 Act is flawed, and in seeking, in effect, to reinstate its provisions, the Lords amendments are similarly found wanting.

Let us look at what the Bill, as passed by this House, actually does in its current format and why their lordships’ amendments are not in my estimation constructive in seeking to reverse these measures. The Bill enshrines in legislation the Government’s commitment to end child poverty and to improve children’s life chances. It focuses on the actions that we know will make the biggest difference to the life chances of children and young people—both now and in the future. We need measures that drive the right action to tackle the root causes of poverty rather than just tackling the symptoms. That is why the Bill introduces the new life chances measures of worklessness and educational attainment.

The Government’s policies in targeting life chances importantly look at outcomes, not inputs—it is a comprehensive approach—recognising that the real route out of poverty is through work, not welfare. Some 74% of previously less well-off, workless families who found work have escaped “the poverty trap”, if one can use that phrase.

The Bill seeks to replace the wholly arbitrary measure that a household is in poverty if its income is below 60% of the median wage. That is totally arbitrary. In a recession, with all households’ income tending to reduce, it gives the completely false impression that fewer households are in poverty because their relative income is seen to rise. It is totally perverse—a recession leading to less poverty. The figures simply do not add up. It is a discredited system, and it did nothing under the previous Government to tackle the underlying root cause of childhood poverty. I therefore submit that these amendments are wrong to try to reinstate that old discredited system. It beggars belief that some people believe that we can base our strategy for improving children’s life chances on income measures that would suggest that the last recession somehow caused a significant fall in child poverty. Of course we should not do so, but that would be the effect of the Lords amendments if this House accepts them.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 220

Neil Gray: That is why, of course, it is important to have a package of measures, so that we can look at all aspects of how children and their families are living in poverty. We should not assess just relative low-income measures; we should include other measures such as material deprivation, which is critically important.

Peter Heaton-Jones: Material deprivation is one of the things that will continue to be measured by the HBAI statistics. It will still be included—[Interruption.] I am sure that the Minister will rise to her feet and reflect this fact; a commitment has been made that the measure of material deprivation will continue to be published annually. It will continue to be part of the official ONS Government statistics. The hon. Gentleman says that we need a package of measures, but that is exactly what we get. We get the HBAI information; we get those statistics; we get the commitment that these data will be published annually and enshrined, as I say, by the ONS. On top of that, we get what the Government suggested in the original Bill, which this House passed—further measures of attainment. We get the best of both worlds.

Neil Gray rose

Peter Heaton-Jones: If the hon. Gentleman does not mind, I will not give way again. He has already had a couple of bites at this particular cherry—

Mr Speaker: Order. Let me gently say to the hon. Member for Airdrie and Shotts (Neil Gray) that he has already given us the benefit of his views for no fewer than 19 minutes, by which I assure him we are all greatly gratified, but 11 Members still want to speak. The hon. Gentleman is perfectly in order in trying to intervene, but I am trying to set out the context, and I know colleagues will want to be considerate of each other.

Peter Heaton-Jones: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I shall take what you say as a gentle reminder for me to move things on, too. I shall do so.

Moving households closer to employment is what improves the life chances of young people in the long term. That is why the Government are focusing on getting parents into work, and then getting their children into work through education. We are tackling the cycle of deprivation that has stifled the ability of too many children to reach their full potential for too long, and has condemned generation after generation to a life in which underachievement and a lack of aspiration become inevitable.

The Government are seeking to change that cycle fundamentally. We are committed to the far more effective approach of targeting the root causes of poverty, which include a lack of educational attainment and family stability. Work remains the best route out of poverty, and higher educational attainment is the best route into work. That is why the Bill that was passed in the House of Commons seeks to introduce two key measures of poverty, namely the proportion of children living in workless households and educational attainment at the age of 16. The Government are focusing on those factors because they have the greatest impact on child poverty and the life chances of children. The Lords amendments propose a reliance on spurious measures

23 Feb 2016 : Column 221

which will do nothing to tackle the problems at their sources. They are misguided, and we should therefore not support them.

Alison McGovern: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling to speak in this important debate. I shall be as quick as I can.

Let me begin by pointing out to the hon. Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) that we already measure educational attainment, and we already measure worklessness. It is not a question of what we should repeat; it is a question of what matters. I shall not go into detail about the hon. Gentleman’s comments about “spurious measures”. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) will do that shortly, so I shall leave it to her.

I want to return the debate to the basics. What are we debating today? What do we mean by transparency in regard to child poverty? That is a very simple question about what we in the House believe poverty to be. Should it be defined as a measure of income, or as a measure of educational attainment or worklessness? We already apply those measures to other statistical estimates of what is going on in our country, but what does the law say about what poverty is?

I asked myself this question: does the amount of money that people have make them poor? Well, it seems obvious to me that it does. A parent—a lone parent, for instance—might not be well paid and might be unable to work many hours. That parent would not suffer from worklessness, but he or she would still be poor. A child might achieve great things at school, securing all the certificates and qualifications, and still suffer the effects of not having enough money at home. Plenty of children go to school, work hard and do well, despite seeing their parents suffer from the stress of trying to pay the mortgage or the rent, or not having enough money to put in the electricity meter so that they can wash their school uniforms. That happens to plenty of children. This is not about educational attainment or worklessness; it is about the fact that the cause of poverty is not having enough money.

Why does that matter? It matters because, in the coming years, the Tories are going to make people poor, and, specifically, they are going to make children poor. We know that, because the Institute for Fiscal Studies has told us. Families will be worse off, despite the so-called living wage—many of them will be in work—and their children will be affected, whatever the qualities of their teachers at school, which may be legion. We have some fantastic schools in this country, which help children to achieve despite poverty at home.

The next question is straightforward: what should we do about the situation? The Government have made clear that they do not think money makes a difference to life chances. I have made clear that I think it does, but why would anyone listen to me? I am a Labour politician. However, there is independent evidence. My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams) mentioned some of it in her fantastic speech, but I can add the information that Kitty Stewart and Kerris Cooper, of the London School of Economics, reviewed 34 studies of whether family incomes affected children’s outcomes throughout the OECD, and found

23 Feb 2016 : Column 222

that family income mattered. What is the point of having some of the world’s finest researchers if we do not listen to them? We know from an FOI request that of the 250 replies on the issue to Government consultations, only two agreed with their desire to forget about reporting on the income target. The vast majority of people agreed that money matters.

4.30 pm

In conclusion, I say that this issue matters and that the Lords are right for two reasons: it matters because of the principle and it matters because of the evidence. It is possible to be poor and in work in our country, and it is possible to be poor and do well at school in our country, and it matters what those people’s lives are like. We must not forget about being transparent about the poverty in our country. It is the cause of ill health and distress, and that is why in principle it matters. The evidence says that money matters, alongside a good education and a healthy life, to outcomes. So if we do not act on money, we embed disadvantage in our country. Therefore, let us not say to those who work too hard for too little, “You don’t count.” Let us not say to children doing well at school despite poverty at home, “You don’t count.” On behalf of those families and all families and their children, I ask the Government to think again.

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con): I would like to address Lords amendments 8 and 9 and the question of employment and support allowance and the work-related activity group, which is the group of people who currently have limited capacity for work.

I support the Government’s intention to enable more people who are on ESA to go back into work, but, as the Minister said, that is not happening, with only 1% per month of that group of nearly 500,000 people returning to work. The Government’s proposal to combat that is to remove the additional amount paid, starting from the 14th week, to people assessed as being within that group, and at the same time they wish to introduce a completely new system of support designed to help people back into work. The new system of support will be set out in a White Paper, which has not yet been published. What we do know is that the system is expected eventually to be funded at approximately £100 million a year, and I will come back to that.

That White Paper is incredibly important to the matter we are discussing, because it is the replacement for what the Government are proposing to remove. I would like to set out four things that I believe the new system of support that the Government are proposing must have within it.

First, it must ensure that people’s assessments are done much more quickly than at present. Currently, people are waiting for assessments for months, and during that time they receive just the basic assessment rate, which is the equivalent of jobseeker’s allowance, regardless of whether they eventually go into the WRAG or the support group. For those whose condition means they have additional costs to what is assumed for those on JSA—for instance, as has been mentioned, energy bills—that can mean a struggle to pay those costs. That can lead to them going into debt, regardless of whether they eventually go into the support group or the WRAG, or indeed into neither. I believe that all work capability assessments should be completed well within the 13 weeks

23 Feb 2016 : Column 223

for which claimants are on the assessment rate so, that they are not put at a disadvantage by the slowness of the system. I would like to see clear evidence in the White Paper that that is going to happen, because it would benefit not just people going into the WRAG but people going into the support group.

Secondly, the assessments themselves need to be more sensitive. That particularly applies to people with mental health conditions, who are about 50% of those in the WRAG. That is another reason for ensuring that people have their assessments rapidly. If they have mental health conditions and need support, the earlier they receive it, the better. As the noble Baroness Meacher said in the other place:

“Common sense tells us that someone with an anxiety disorder or depression will find rising debts and the prospect of eviction from their home impossible to cope with.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 27 January 2016; Vol. 768, c. 1306.]

Thirdly, the new system of support will need to be based on clear evidence of what works for people, so I ask the Minister whether the proposals in the White Paper will be piloted to see whether they work, or whether they will be based on current best practice. If it is the former, there is little time, as they will need to be in place by April 2017.

Fourthly, the new system must include a full and accessible scheme for cash payments over and above the assessment rate to meet additional costs if people have them. I have already referred to the extra energy costs arising from people having to stay at home much more as a result of their illness or disability. There may also be costs for special diets and so on. I mention accessibility because I have seen schemes where support is available but very difficult to obtain—people have to jump through hoops to get it. Anyone who is assessed for the WRAG under the new system should therefore automatically be asked about additional costs resulting from their condition that are not covered by PIP. Those costs should be evaluated rapidly and, if accepted, met. When the White Paper is published, I will look for it to address those four points.

Sammy Wilson: The hon. Gentleman has made thoughtful points. Does he not accept that the problem is that we are being asked tonight to vote to take financial support away from people, without the safeguards that he has outlined being known? It is like taking a jump in the dark, and the Prime Minister has told us that that is not a good thing to do.

Jeremy Lefroy: It is like that, and I would have preferred to see an assessment such as I proposed in the amendment that I tabled on Report. I hoped that perhaps the Lords would take that up, because it is important. To some extent, it is an act of faith in the Government and in the White Paper, and that is why I am setting out these points now. As my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen) said, we hope to see action on them.

I have already talked about accessibility, which is extremely important. When somebody is assessed for a group, they should be asked about accessibility instead of being referred to somewhere they might find difficult or somewhere they do not even know. That should be part of the assessment process and run by the Department for Work and Pensions, not other Departments

23 Feb 2016 : Column 224

When the White Paper is published, which I hope will be as soon as possible, I will be looking for it to address all those points. If it does, they system may well work better for people on ESA who can move back into work. Let us remember that this is about people who have limited capacity for work, not people who cannot work, who must continue to be in the support group and receive the support supplement.

The risks of a scheme that does not meet those criteria are considerable, first and foremost for the people involved, who may end up in limbo, neither helped into work nor able to meet even their basic living costs. They may end up in the support group long-term, which is not in their interest or the public interest.

This will cost more than £100 million per annum, which is what has been allocated—probably considerably more. But if the Government are serious about supporting people back into work, as I know they are, a good scheme that is initially more expensive will both be better for those who need support and probably cost the taxpayer less in the long run. I therefore urge the Chancellor to back such a scheme with the funding it needs, and the Minister and the Secretary of State to push for it. The status quo, as embodied in the Lords amendments, is not satisfactory, but its replacement must be an improvement for those in the WRAG—we cannot afford to go backwards.

Dr Blackman-Woods: I want to speak to Lords amendments 1, 8 and 9. When I came into the Chamber this afternoon, I did not intend to say much about Lords amendment 1, but I was so incensed by the way in which the Minister dealt with the issue earlier, and by her total lack of compassion for anyone who might be affected by the measures in the Bill, that I thought I must say something. I must point out to the House the contrast between her approach and that taken by the Bishop of Durham when he moved amendment 1 in the other place, because his approach was measured, based on evidence and full of compassion and care for the people affected. He pointed out what I think is self-evident to most of us in this Chamber, which is that

“low income is an important influence on children’s outcomes and life chances”.

In fact, we have had an often bizarre discussion today in which there is the suggestion that, somehow, child poverty is about a whole collection of measures, and nothing to do with income, which is clearly ludicrous. The Bishop of Durham said that

“the Government’s concern about the current child poverty measures is that they have encouraged an overdependence on income transfers, diverting attention from policies that tackle the root causes of poverty.”

He said that, as I pointed out earlier, Lords amendment 1

“does not seek to reassert the primacy of the existing child poverty measures: it simply requires that income-based measures of poverty be reported on alongside, and on a level footing with, other life chance indicators, such as worklessness and educational attainment, in order to acknowledge the significance of family income for children’s well-being and future prospects.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 25 January 2016; Vol. 768, c. 1047.]

That is particularly important, because we have an assessment from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing that the Government’s desire to close the fiscal deficit chiefly through spending cuts means that the prognosis for child poverty over this decade is bleak. We do not

23 Feb 2016 : Column 225

want a range of Government measures that make it more difficult for us to assess the impact of cuts on child poverty and the direct relationship between child poverty and low income. I have heard nothing from the Minister today to persuade me that she is following the right approach.

Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con): I hear what the hon. Lady is saying, but is she not advocating a return to the past? Does she not recognise that it is not an either/or situation, but a both situation? Reintroducing child poverty measures is, at the very least, arbitrary and could have unintended consequences.

Mr Speaker: Order. May I just point out that if Members continue in this way, and it is perfectly in order for them to do so, there will be some who will not get in? It is as simple as that. If everyone speaks for five minutes or more and takes interventions, a number of people will not get called to speak. It will be no good blaming the Chair; you will have to blame each other.

Dr Blackman-Woods: There is no way at all that we can say that the relationship between a person’s income and poverty is an arbitrary measure. I say to the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) that I have made it very clear, for the third time now, that Lords amendment 1 is about requiring an income-based measure alongside—not instead of—other measures.

We have heard many attacks on Labour’s record this afternoon. Labour reduced child poverty by almost 1 million. The independent assessment by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and others was that it was a remarkable achievement, certainly without historical precedent in the UK, and impressive compared with other countries too. Rather than deriding our record, perhaps the Conservative party should see what it can do to build on it.

I turn briefly to Lords amendments 8 and 9. I am sure that many Members have heard from a number of their constituents about them, and I wish to talk about someone who wrote to me yesterday. She is a sufferer of multiple sclerosis. She wrote:

“I’m writing to ask you to support the amended Bill and ensure Clauses 13 and 14 remain out of the Bill when it is debated in the House of Commons. If this benefit were reduced, it could have significant implications for people who have MS and other people living with a long-term condition, in some cases making their health worse and pushing them even further from employment. Having a long-term condition such as MS is expensive. It adds extra costs to finding employment or training that people who receive jobseeker’s allowance don’t experience. These costs include things like paying for taxis to get to and from interviews.

Lord Low’s review of the proposed reductions in ESA also found no evidence to support the Government’s argument that £30 was a disincentive to work, which has been given as a rationale for these Clauses. The report also highlighted the negative impact that this reduction would have for people with disabilities like MS . Keeping clauses 13 and 14 in the Bill doesn’t make sense.”

I could not put it any better. We have received a great deal of testimony from our constituents, along with the excellent review by Lord Low and Baronesses Grey-Thompson and Meacher, which the Government have simply ignored. I ask the Minister to think again and listen to the people who know something about the possible impact of this policy.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 226

4.45 pm

Paul Scully: I should like to speak to Lords amendments 1 and 8. In looking at child poverty, I am worried about the numbers for the income targets that we have discussed. My concern is that the Government are effectively just managing the situation, rather than tackling the problem. The Bill seeks to refocus our approach so that we concentrate solely on tackling the root causes of poverty, rather than wringing our hands and looking at the symptoms.

Between 2003 and 2008, the Government spent roughly £300 billion on child poverty, but the figures remained broadly unchanged. Such examples show that we need a different approach. We have heard that the reporting of incomes has had a perverse effect on child poverty. In a recession, poverty can decrease. Conversely, in periods of economic growth poverty can go up.

Let us concentrate on those root causes. The deadline for the elimination of child poverty has been discussed, but we need to think how we would meet an arbitrary deadline if we do not understand what we are trying to tackle. We need to understand the root causes of poverty, and focus on those.

The Minister has made a commitment to continue to publish the figures on low incomes in the annual report on households below average income. The report uses national statistics, so it is guaranteed on that basis. As I have said, we have heard the Minister’s commitment to publishing those figures every year. We have been asked by the Opposition if the figures can be reported alongside information on life chances. However, that reinforces the perverse consequences that can result, so it is important that we focus solely on what will help to eliminate child poverty.

Turning to changes to ESA, 61% of people in WRAG want to go back to work. The majority of people who are out of work want to go back to work, so it is important that we focus support and help people. We should offer a safety net for people who cannot go back to work, and we should do everything that we can to support people who can go back to work and want to do so. WRAG was set up with good intentions, but unfortunately it has not been effective enough. It is not right that we have a system in which only one in 100 people can find work, whereas one in five JSA claimants go back to work.

The intermediate WRAG arrangement has become a long-term waiting room, entrenching worklessness, because it focuses on the symptoms, not the root causes. That is why I am keen that we take the cash—up to £100 million a year by 2020-21—and repurpose it to address the needs of the people in that group.

I understand the concerns of colleagues about what will be in the White Paper and how the process will work, but as a member of the Committee considering the Bill I have seen the dedication of providers, disability charities and support groups, their commitment to the people they seek to help, and the skills and experience they have. That is why I know that the taskforce that is being set up will help to bring in the expertise of the charities, providers, support organisations, think-tanks and local authorities. I ask colleagues to have faith in the experience and expertise of those people, which will give us a solid basis on which to spend that money.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 227

As the national living wage and personal allowances increase, we have an opportunity to tackle childhood poverty and bring people into work. We must make sure that work pays more than benefits, and that the system supports vulnerable people and is fair to people in work who pay their taxes.


Helen Goodman: I begin by addressing amendment 1. The Labour Government had four poverty measures when we took through the Child Poverty Act 2010—absolute, relative and persistent poverty and material deprivation. We measured all of them. Between 1997 and 2010 we cut the number of children living in relative poverty by 1 million, and the number of children living in absolute poverty by 2 million. There is nothing arbitrary about this. It is important to have those measures because they are used across the OECD. That enables us to compare our performance with that of the other countries that UNICEF studies.

Ministers want to abandon those targets because they intend to freeze benefits and cut child tax credits if there are more than three, four or five children in a family. Those measures will increase the number of children living in poverty. Because they do not want that to be evident to the whole world, they do not want to use the targets. We should not let them off the hook.

We all think life chances matter. We are all interested in the correlations between the kind of childhood people have and what happens to them later in life. No one is saying that we do not want to measure those things, but I remind the House that not being able to go on a school trip, never having a holiday, not having a birthday party—these things matter in themselves because children are not human becomings, but human beings. Childhood is a part of life. The quality of life in the early years matters just as much it matters what our lives are like or what the quality of our parents’ life is like.

On amendments 8 and 9, I want to bring into the House the voice of the people affected. Those in the ESA support group are not people who are not working out of perversity or because they have not done the arithmetic and do not know what the incentives are. They are not in work because the jobs do not exist, or because of the barriers to work. They may have problems with transport, they may be stressed, they may be exhausted or they may be struggling against extremely difficult odds. In my constituency there are 860 people in the ESA work-related activity group. I get letters from them and have meetings with them every single week.

This week I heard from a woman who wrote:

“My husband…has been in receipt of ESA-Support Group benefit…for some considerable time due to long standing health problems of both a physical and psychological nature. He has recently had to resubmit the…questionnaire and we have just had notification that he has been placed in the Support Group but this will only be until November…His last award was for three years.

Considering the…letter from the GP”—

and the psychologist—

“we can’t believe the DWP think it is in any way appropriate to put my husband through this process twice within the same year…He will now spend…months worrying and becoming increasingly anxious about having to face the process again”.

She adds that he is “extremely vulnerable”. Treating this group of people in that way is not helpful. Making them

23 Feb 2016 : Column 228

poorer, not helping them to heat their homes or to eat properly, and making them anxious about whether they can pay their rent is not helpful.

The week before I received that letter, I had a letter from another constituent, who said:

“I’m petrified. Atos did my ESA medical...yet they still lied. I’d told them my disabilities and…they didn’t mention any of them…I was called by a woman from the DWP who told me my ESA was cancelled. She seemed happy (really happy) to gloat about this…I had to live on my 9 year old daughter’s £20 child benefit and child tax credit for 4 weeks. It takes a split second to stop benefits but 4 weeks to reinstate.”

She has now been told she must provide her own medical records, which will cost £500 because doctors are charging to provide them. She continues:

“I can’t afford this on £102 a week…I’ve not slept in ages”.

She adds that she has “cried a lot” because she knows what will happen to her.

That is the situation people are already in, and we absolutely cannot see them pushed down even further. I appeal to the Minister’s better nature. I appeal to her to think again about amendments 8 and 9.

Kevin Foster: It has been an interesting debate so far. The Opposition contribution that was of most interest to me was probably that of the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field), and it is a pity that others did not take a lead from him.

Let me start with the measures of child poverty. Using measures of relative income as the main driver can have some bizarre impacts. For example, we focus on those just under the line, not those who are most in need or most desperate, and we try to get them over the line to make the numbers work. As I touched on in an intervention on my hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Peter Heaton-Jones), that approach can inspire the view that making the whole of society poorer will end relative poverty, even though no one is better off. As we heard, the bizarre outcome is that a recession is, in theory, the best news when it comes to reducing child poverty, whereas, in a boom, things would be the other way round.

That is why it is right to focus on creating real life chances. I speak as someone whose mother grew up on a council estate and whose father worked for 37 years in Devonport dockyard—he had to work hard with his hands to get what he could for his family. That is important: this is about social mobility and achievements such as those.

A Scottish National party Member noted in an intervention that it makes sense to measure these things not just at 16, but all the way through education. There is perhaps more work to be done, therefore, and I look forward to what the taskforce says, but it is important to look at what our education system turns out at the end of the day. One example that has been given is that, a few years back, more children came out of Eton with three As at A-level, allowing them to get to top universities, than came out of the entire cohort of children on free school meals in England. That really is a thought-provoking point. We may disagree about how to tackle it best, but it is certainly no great compliment to our system.

Employers with jobs want people with skills. They want to employ people and to put them into high-paid job. However, they find that people just do not have the

23 Feb 2016 : Column 229

skills or the ability to take those jobs up. That is where educational outcomes have an impact on life outcomes and on whether people stay in poverty. If people do not have the skills to move into employment, that opportunity is not there. That is why looking at the life chances side is so important in tackling poverty and preventing people from being locked into a cycle, with parents being in a low-paid job, children going into a low-paid job and grand-children going into a low-paid job.

5 pm

We have had an interesting debate about WRAG. The figure regularly quoted is that every month only one in 100 of those in this group gets off benefits and into work. I cannot imagine any other policy with a success rate of one in 100 where we would be hearing furious arguments defending it. In contrast, the figure for jobseeker’s allowance is one in five, yet many people will equally have had difficulties and barriers in getting back into work, and challenges in seeking alternative employment if they have been made redundant in one industry and need to transfer to another. I could understand it being a slightly higher rate, but the fact that the figure for those leaving WRAG is a twentieth of the rate for JSA shows that things are going wrong. Some may argue that it may be partly due to whether the assessments of who should be in the support group are being done correctly. The recent investigation of this issue by the Public Accounts Committee—I am a member—perhaps partly explains the figure, but it does not go to the core of why it is a twentieth of the rate of people coming off JSA. That is not something to shout about and defend, but to condemn.

I am pleased that the Government are looking to tackle this and bring forward these measures. The details that will come from the taskforce will give us more of a plan. The current system is not working—that is starkly obvious. I am therefore prepared to support the Government in making sure that we have support systems that work in helping people back into work, as well as the right targets to ensure that people can develop their potential and that more sons of dockyard workers and school teaching assistants can end up in this place.

Dr Whitford: Following the comments of the hon. Member for Torbay (Kevin Foster), people in the ESA WRAG have been classed as not fit for work, unlike those on jobseeker’s allowance, so one would not expect the same success rate.

My concern about this change—in essence, this repeal of the Child Poverty Act 2010—is that the policy seems no longer to be about wanting to eradicate child poverty but about airbrushing it out of existence by removing the phrase, the measurements, and not just the reporting but the statutory aim of eradication. We see many measures: a benefit cap being reduced or a benefit freeze, changes to tax credits after having two children, and people in the ESA WRAG losing £30 a week. I dealt with patients like that as a breast cancer surgeon. These people are stuck at home; they do need to keep the house warm and they do need that extra bit of help. They have been classed as not yet fit to work. We have had impact assessments on some of these measures, but we have not had a cumulative impact assessment. Some

23 Feb 2016 : Column 230

families will be hit by all these measures, and the IFS is talking about losses of between £1,000 and £1,500 a year. To take that kind of money away from the poorest people will have a huge impact.

Like the hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), I had the honour of taking part in the all-party group investigation into the impact of these changes on child poverty. We heard evidence from the Faculty of Public Health and from many charities on the changes that we can expect in child poverty and the impact that child poverty has on health. The University of Liverpool has estimated that we lose 1,400 children a year under the age of 15 because of poverty. That number is equivalent to the size of a big secondary school. If the roof of a secondary school was collapsing every year, we would be out there doing something about it, but we do not. This is about neonatal mortality, infant mortality, accidents, violence, suicide, addiction and alcoholism, and the problem is that we think we can just ignore it.

Earlier in the debate, we talked about mental health. Children in the poorest quartile have three times the incidence of mental health problems. If their parents suffer from depression and stress, which we know is aggravated by poverty, they have a 60% increase in mental health problems. There is a five times higher incidence of infant mortality. The Marmot report estimated that the deaths of one in four children before the age of one could be prevented if their mothers had had the same nutrition, health, chances and lack of stress as the people who are most comfortable.

Five times as many children who are in the poorest quartile are likely to die as a result of road traffic accidents, while 15 times as many are likely to die as a result of a fire. Malnutrition is on the increase. There is evidence of low iodine and low folate in teenage girls as a result of poor nutrition. That leads to cretinism and spina bifida. We are going to produce generations of children who will suffer in the future. Marmot said that disadvantage starts before birth and accumulates through life.

I am not against including a measure of life chances. I do not accept that we have to choose between two separate horses. We can measure both. The only life chances that are being talked about are worklessness and educational attainment at 16, which is long after the horse has bolted. Two thirds of children in poverty have a working parent, so they will simply be dismissed. At 16, we have no chance to do something.

I accept the argument of the hon. Member for Torbay that we need to develop measures, but we also need interventions. We keep hearing that there is going to be a focus on changing these children’s lives, but how are we going to do that? There should have been a White Paper first so that we could know what was being offered to change their lives, because they will cost us throughout their lives, through failed education, worklessness, ending up in the justice system and addiction.

It makes sense to invest money in their childhood so that they are not a year behind. American research has also found that their brains do not develop to the same level as others. We need to change that, but we must not simply think that by ignoring the phrase “child poverty” it will disappear. There should be a statutory obligation to report it and we should aim, as was promised, to eradicate it by the end of this Parliament.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 231

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage) (Con): It is a great pleasure to be given the opportunity to speak in this debate. I consider myself to be a proud and loyal member of the Conservative party, and as such I believe it is my duty to hold the Government to account and to help them when they lose their way. I am very proud to have had a number of conversations with the Minister for Employment, who is very happy to listen and talk. She is very welcoming and tries to work with others to achieve change. I was very happy with some of the reassurances she gave me, but I am sure that Opposition Members will be delighted to know that I will join them in the Lobby when we vote on Lords amendments 8 and 9 in about half an hour, because I am not happy with all the assurances I was given by others in the Department.

I want to clarify a few things. On the ESA WRAG and ESA support group, we are talking about 500,000 people who have been defined as being too ill to work under the measures introduced by the coalition Government in 2010. They have already been assessed as needing more support to go into work.

The fact that one in 100 are leaving that group and going into work is our failure. Something has gone wrong with the back to work programme. I am not proud of that. I was very keen to support the back to work programme, and disabled constituents of mine were very happy when we introduced it, because they felt that, for the first time in their lives, they would be given the opportunity to get out there and get real, practical support to get back into work. They do not want training sessions or to be taught new skills that are of no use whatsoever to them by a company that gets paid to do so. They are interested in getting back to work, and that is what I and the Government are interested in, too, but the problem is that, although we all want the same thing, we differ on how to get there.

The ESA support group consists of people who are just too ill to work. We are effectively saying, “We’re not writing anybody off, but if you’re in the support group you don’t need to find work, we won’t really give any support and we’ll just leave you there.” I am concerned that, by abolishing the ESA WRAG for new claimants—the Minister has been clear that that does not apply to existing claimants—from April 2017, we will push more people into the support group. Someone with a progressive disease such as motor neurone disease, which is getting worse and worse, will end up being pushed into the support group as fast as possible. I have a problem with that.

The Disability Benefits Consortium has said that almost half of those in the ESA WRAG have mental and behavioural disorders, which include mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism. Before the debate, we had an urgent question about the Government providing an extra £1 billion for mental health. Almost half—248,000—of the 500,000 people in the ESA WRAG have mental health issues. With that £1 billion going to the NHS, we have to wonder what we can do to support back into work those who have learning difficulties, autism or a variety of other issues. Some employers simply do not want them. Some small businesses find it very difficult to employ them. How do we go out and find them that opportunity? How do we find them a real job, as opposed to a fake job?

Parkinson’s UK, Rethink and Mind jointly say:

23 Feb 2016 : Column 232

“This policy is poorly conceived. It will ultimately cause unintended harm and push sick and disabled people further from employment.”

Scope has said that the changes will disincentivise disabled people from finding work and will create a greater incentive for people to want to be placed in the support group. Macmillan has said that the changes will have a significant, detrimental impact on people affected by cancer. The bottom line is that the charities with which the Government will work in the taskforce to help to deliver the changes that will be in the White Paper are very concerned about the changes and do not see how they will work.

I do not accept that £30 a week is an incentive for somebody not to go to work. Most Conservatives do not accept that. Most Conservatives consider it to be their proud duty to look after the disabled. Ideologically, we have no issue about providing a welfare system that is a safety net for those who need support when they fall on hard times, to help people back into work. My concern is that the way in which the Bill will be perceived, and its practical implications, will lead some people who have disabilities to feel as though they are being pushed into the support group or into work.

I have a technical question for the Minister, which I hope she will be able to answer later this evening or in the next few weeks. If some of the original 500,000 people in the ESA WRAG find work but cannot cope with it, will they be able after April 2017 to go into something like the ESA WRAG, which will no longer exist? Or will they just have to push themselves towards the support group? Will there be an incentive to do so?

There are lots of other points that I would like to make, but as we are running out of time I will make one quick point. We have heard that £100 million is being reinvested, but we are taking £640 million away, so £540 million is going. If we are that keen on it, why do we not reinvest the whole £640 million into helping people back into work?

Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) (Lab): I will be brief, because other Members have covered some of the points that I wanted to make. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill will create hardship across our country and push people further into poverty. Child poverty is rising, and independent projections from the IFS show that the fall in child poverty rates that we saw under Labour is at risk of being reversed. We hear from the Children’s Society that if the proposals in the Bill are enacted, we should expect child poverty to rise even more steeply.

Research by End Child Poverty identified that 4.1 million families and 7.7 million children have been affected by below-inflation rises in child benefit and child tax credit over the past three years. One in five families said that they had cut back on food and heating because benefits have been increased below inflation. The Government’s attempts to mask the impact of child poverty by removing income as a measure will fool nobody. Child poverty should be something that we all recognise and want to combat. Sadly, the Government seem to be trying to bury the effects of their social security policies on child poverty; it appears that the Government are far from taking the situation seriously.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has indicated that 1.5 million children live in poverty because their working parents do not earn enough to

23 Feb 2016 : Column 233

secure a basic standard of living. As was mentioned earlier, the commission stated in its December 2015 report that

“it is not credible to try to improve the life chances of the poor without acknowledging the most obvious symptom of poverty, lack of money.”

I believe that the Government’s position is just not credible.

I turn to the Government’s proposals to cut ESA in the WRAG. If clauses 13 and 14 of the Bill are accepted, the financial support for claimants in that group will be cut by 25%, from £102 to £73. That will have a drastic impact on both disabled people who are in work and disabled people who are out of work. In view of the fact that the Government have committed to protecting support for disabled people, that is deeply worrying. This cut will not incentivise people, which is what the Government say they want to do. The cut has been opposed in the other place, and I hope that the Government will now listen and scrap clauses 13 and 14.

5.15 pm

I am concerned about the impact of the assessments on people with mental health problems. The significant cut, if clauses 13 and 14 are approved, may well mean that people with mental health problems become more unwell and that they cannot spend money on support and activities that would help them to recover, which will have an impact on their ability to move closer to work. Rather than increasing the number of people in work, the cut may actually hinder recovery and push people further away from work. Currently, there are nearly 500,000 disabled people in the WRAG nationally. The largest group is made up of those with mental and behavioural disorders, which includes mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism. We know from a parliamentary review that 69% of disabled people said that such a cut in ESA would cause their health to suffer.

Finally, I believe the Government should accept Lords amendments 1, 8 and 9. I hope that the Minister will signal that she is willing to consider what action she and the Government will take to review this situation and to end the huge amount of undue worry and stress that the proposals are causing, particularly for disabled people. The Government need to show some common sense and compassion, and they should support the Lords amendments.

Mr Burrowes: I will speak to Lords amendments 1, 8 and 9. Let us be realistic: we can get involved in adversarial politics on poverty, but we are all in the same business of wanting to alleviate child poverty. Whether or not Lords amendment 1 is agreed to, we need to recognise that it would not in itself transform the lives of children in poverty. Similarly, the previous Government’s focus was on income-related measures, but they were not in themselves going to transform child poverty.

The issue could be used, as it was in the speech by the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman), to parade the child poverty credentials of the previous Labour Government. We could spend our time—we have not got much time—criticising that approach and

23 Feb 2016 : Column 234

saying that it did not get to the root causes of poverty and truly transform the outcomes for those most in need.

Lords amendment 1 is about reporting data and about how to focus activity, including Government measures, on those who are most in need. We need to ask what will focus Government policy on this issue like a laser. Despite some of the lurid claims, not least those made by the hon. Lady, the policy was not in any way a device to hide cuts. Let us get rid of that idea, because that is not what this is about. This is about making a genuine attempt not so much to redefine child poverty, but to refocus attention on its root causes.

As has been seen during the long passage of the Bill, this reiteration of the policy has had cross-party support, as well as support from many NGOs involved in fighting child poverty, particularly the Centre for Social Justice, which has worked hard in this area. The right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field), the Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, hit the right tone. We want to ensure that we do not distract attention from what is needed to transform people’s life chances. That is what the issue is about.

I am concerned about what Lords amendment 1 would do. This well-intentioned amendment received support from many in the other place, but it would go back to and reintroduce arbitrary measures. Such points have been made—I will not repeat them—by my hon. Friends the Members for Torbay (Kevin Foster), for North Devon (Peter Heaton-Jones) and for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully). For example, Lords amendment 1 would risk the reintroduction of measures based on current parental income, which would take away the focus on raising attainment and on increasing life chances for disadvantaged children.

I do, however, have a way forward to propose. I cannot deal with it in relation to Lords amendment 1, which will simply reintroduce child poverty measures with all their failings, but we must look for such a way that recognises the potential opposition in the Lords. As we all acknowledge, financial poverty has a significant effect on life chances. We cannot ignore that, and Government publications on such measures have proved that point. We must therefore look at how to make reference to financial poverty, but keep the particular focus on tackling the risks to life chances.

Eventually, if the Bill goes back to the other place, I propose that consideration is given to an income measure that will act not as a focus in itself, but as a gateway to other measures, and that will ensure Government policy is directed, as it currently is, to those most in need of support. We should consider introducing a gateway measure for families based both on whether they have a low income and on life chances risk measures, with a particular focus on those in permanent poverty. It would ensure that maximum support is given to those stuck in poverty, and that the Government focus on those who are most in need.

Briefly on Lords amendments 8 and 9, I share the concerns that were well rehearsed by my hon. Friends the Members for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen), for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) and for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy). We met the Minister together. I recognise that the Minister and the Secretary of State have a genuine commitment to this as a reforming measure.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 235

We really need to get the White Paper out there so that the Government’s commitment to reform can be seen clearly.

I recognise that the WRAG is not fit for purpose, as only 1% are getting into work, but it does have a purpose. It has a purpose for the most vulnerable individuals, for whom the financial element of £30 really matters. The way we show our compassion is in how we treat the few, not the many. For those few people, that £30 will have a big impact on their lives. Whether we like the WRAG or not, whether we think these people should be in the support group, which they may well be moved into, or benefit from PIP, they are concerned about the loss of this payment. When dealing with those with progressive illnesses, remitting illnesses or mental health conditions—the Government’s commitment of £1 billion of investment is wonderful—what we do must be matched by careful concern.

As we move towards 2017, with the flow of new applicants, we must do all we can to reassure everyone that we are in the business of reform. We must not only enable more people to get into work, but deal with the practical elements. My hon. Friend the Member for Stafford mentioned energy costs. That is undeniably an issue that must be dealt with practically. I will support the Government tonight, but we must get the White Paper out and show our practical support in meaningful ways before 2017.

I will hold the Government to account, as will my hon. Friends, to ensure that we deliver. We must show that we are on the side of these people, we must show our compassion and we must do all we can, for example through Disability Confident events like the one that I have on Friday, to show that we are on this in a way that previous Governments have not been. We must show that we want to see people’s lives transformed through work, but also that we will support people with the safety net, which we are proud of. Even after the WRAG measures, we are more generous than the previous Government were in relation to the disabled. We must not be deflected from the task of supporting people into work and supporting people in the safety net. It is not a pull factor—let us not make that case. We want to reform the measure to ensure that it really works for people who need support and are not able to get into work immediately, but let us keep our focus, as the poverty measures will do, on those who are most in need. I will hold the Government to account over the coming months to ensure that they really mean what they say.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford: Earlier today, I attended the vigil outside Parliament that has been organised by Disabled People Against Cuts to draw attention to this debate and to urge the Government to listen to what the House of Lords said about the cuts to support for disabled people and to accept its amendments. I will focus on Lords amendments 8 and 9.

The proposal to reduce employment and support allowance for WRAG by about £30 a week for new claimants has been a focal point of this debate, precisely because the Government promised that they would not cut the support for disabled people and yet are doing exactly that. They have done it indirectly through policies such as the bedroom tax and the inclusion of carer’s allowance in the benefit cap, on which I am glad the

23 Feb 2016 : Column 236

courts have forced a U-turn; and they have done it directly through cuts to the independent living fund, DLA, Motability and Access to Work. Now, they are cutting direct financial support to disabled people through the measures in this Bill. They are putting sick and disabled people on the frontline of their austerity agenda, hitting the incomes of those who are already disadvantaged. These people are being asked to take the biggest hit, even though they had the least to begin with.

The first critical point that we need to understand today is that to receive ESA, a person has to be assessed as unfit for work. Believe me, the bar on that is already pretty high. People who are too sick or disabled to work are placed either in the support group, meaning that they are not expected to look for work, or in the WRAG, where it is recognised that they have only limited capacity, but could potentially undertake preparatory activity with a view to returning to the labour market at some point. So let us be quite clear: the people who are set to lose out from the Government’s £30 a week cut to ESA are people who are not able to work because of their health.

That is why the Chancellor was talking nonsense when he spoke about this measure removing “perverse incentives” in the benefits system. It is his logic that is perverse, although his choice of language is damning and revelatory. If someone is seriously sick or disabled, reducing their income will not make them better quicker. There is not a shred of evidence to support that ill-founded fantasy, but there is plenty of evidence that financial worries and the stress associated with work capability and PIP assessments have a negative impact on people’s health. A large and growing body of evidence suggests that hardship and stress slow down recovery and push people further away from the labour market.

Some people affected by the proposed cuts will have faced long-term disadvantage because of a serious health condition or disability, and they may find it difficult to access the labour market or sustain employment. In contrast to ESA, jobseeker’s allowance is for the most part a short-term benefit. Depending on the state of the economy, the vast majority of jobseekers move off JSA in a few weeks or months, but those with long-term health conditions and disabilities are far more likely to face long-term unemployment. The barriers we face are very real, and many people will have to live on extremely low incomes for lengthy periods. Many also incur extra living costs simply because of their condition or disability.

Having to get by on an extremely low income for an extended period is one factor that entrenches poverty among disabled people and those with long-term illness. People use up their savings and end up selling their assets, and they depend on others. The poverty experienced by disabled people is well documented, but it often becomes family poverty as other family members try to support loved ones financially from their own incomes, while providing unpaid care that limits their own earning potential.

The cuts to ESA will cause real hardship and are quite unnecessary. They are based on a flawed and frankly offensive misconception that people with serious long-term health conditions are malingerers who need to be prompted into work with “tough love”. A large proportion of the people who rely on ESA are those who have become disabled or developed a condition in adult life—people who have paid taxes and national insurance contributions for many years previously, with

23 Feb 2016 : Column 237

the perfectly reasonable expectation that if they become unable to work for health-related reasons, there will be a safety net for them. That safety net must take realistic account of the extra costs of living with disability, and to reduce support is callous and plain wrong. Even the Lords recognise that, and the Government must acknowledge it and think again.

The Lords also expressed concern about the implications of universal credit for working disabled people. We know that disabled people are more likely to work in low-paid jobs, and they are at higher risk of living in poverty. The disabled worker element of working tax credit currently provides support for disabled people who are in work to cover the extra costs that they incur by holding down a job—costs that in some cases would otherwise make it financially disadvantageous to be in work. With the move to universal credit, the loss of the limited capability for work element to everyone except those in the support group means that a lot of working disabled people will be around £1,500 worse off every year. Among those who will be worst affected are disabled working parents who currently receive the disabled worker’s element of working tax credit. Under universal credit, disabled working parents will lose that extra support.

Around 43,000 families in the UK with at least one working disabled parent will take a substantial drop in income when universal credit is rolled out. As Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson pointed out in the Lords, a couple with two children and both parents working in low-paid jobs, where one parent has become disabled, could receive a massive £3,000 less in 2017. The Government say that they want to improve employment support for disabled people, but slashing the incomes of those who are already in work, and who depend on that support to keep them in work, is not the way to go about it. Surely the Government have learned lessons from the failure of the Work programme—we have heard quite a lot about that today, and I think they acknowledge that it has not worked.

Surely it is far more effective, empowering and dignified to provide extra support directly to working disabled people, so they can spend it on the transport or equipment that they need to make work viable for them. Instead, the Government seem to think that it is more effective to take money out of the pockets of working disabled people, and give it to highly paid executives and private sector companies to tell those disabled people how to stay in work, without any of the resources to back that up. It makes a mockery of the Government’s claim that they want to support disabled people into work.

The Government have based their whole argument on the notion that work is the way out of poverty, but they have conveniently ignored the fact that two thirds of children in poverty have parents in work, and that the introduction of universal credit will leave millions of working families financially worse off. The Minister’s claim that the Government want to support disabled people into work would be a lot more plausible if they had not already cut the independent living fund, mobility allowances and DLA—the very forms of support that help disabled people to get a job and stay in work. The Government now plan to cut support for working disabled people on universal credit. Their position is simply not credible.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 238

If the Government choose to ignore the Lords today and push ahead with these measures, it will be testament to an arrogance and unwillingness to recognise the needs of disabled people that has already seen them dragged through the courts for indirect discrimination. The Lords have made eminently reasonable amendments to the Bill that would ensure that those who need support get support at perhaps the most difficult time of their lives.

I urge Conservative Members who are wondering what to do this evening to take heed of the experiences of sick and disabled people in their own constituencies—maybe even in their own families—and support the Lords amendments in this group this evening.

5.30 pm

Jim McMahon (Oldham West and Royton) (Lab): I place on record my thanks to my constituency neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), for the work that is being done to shine a light on the Government and expose them for what is a cruel attack on the people who can least afford it.

It is clear that the Minister believes poverty is an inconvenience. On the Labour Benches, we believe strongly that poverty is an evil. What is the Government’s response? To see no evil, to hear no evil and to speak no evil. Why would the Government seek to hide the true scale of poverty, if not because they realise that, through their targeted attacks on the poor, including the working poor, poverty will increase? The Government do not want to see poverty, because to see it would be to expose it and would be a cause of guilt—if guilt is possible with this Government. That is why, through the benefits cap, communities will be displaced as towns and cities are socially cleansed.

The Government do not want to hear the truth about poverty, either, because to hear it would create a noise so loud that the country would not sit back and take it. That is exactly why they want to silence charities such as Barnardo’s and the Children’s Society with the gagging Act that is the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.

The Government do not want to speak the truth about poverty, because to speak it would be hypocritical. They know that their actions are pushing more and more people into poverty and on to the breadline. That is precisely why they are blocking their own officials from publishing data on the number of people living in true poverty. We can talk about life chances, and we know how important education, health and housing are, but let us be honest: if you have to put the electricity or gas on, or put a uniform on the backs of your children, or make a decision about whether you or your children eat, then money is very, very important.

That evil affects too many families in Oldham West and Royton. Take the Coldhurst ward in my constituency, where more than 51% of children are growing up in families in poverty. Take Oldham as a town, where 40% of children are growing up in families living in poverty. It is getting worse, not better, under this Government. That is not surprising. Could any Member in this Chamber really live on £13 a day to cover food, heating, electricity, clothes, transport and toys for the children? There are too many mothers who go hungry just to feed their children. By 2021, it is estimated that

23 Feb 2016 : Column 239

1 million more children will have been pushed into poverty. No wonder the Government do not want to report on how many people are living in poverty. It is a national scandal.

Research by the Children’s Society—a charity still able, at the moment, to give a voice to those who need one—highlights that 14,400 children in my constituency alone live in working households that will be affected by the freeze on benefits. As corporations such as Google laugh all the way to the bank, it is for my constituents to queue at the food bank. Not measuring how many people are in poverty is like driving a car with the instrument dashboard disconnected: you do not know how fast you are going; you do not know how long you have been going, or the distance you have travelled; you do not know whether you have enough fuel to last the distance; and you do not know if the car is overheating until it is too late. This is the real crux of the issue: the Government’s view is clearly that the welfare system is not a well maintained machine to be looked after and to last but a banger to drive into the ground and send to the scrapheap.

Marie Rimmer (St Helens South and Whiston) (Lab): It has been a regular occurrence in my nine months in Parliament that we face another lamentable situation in which this Government, and specifically the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, are called upon to think again. Opposition Members in the other place have once again provided us with an opportunity to pause for reflection.

I wish to focus my remarks on the cruel and utterly devastating cuts to employment and support allowance for those in the work-related activity group. Let me set that out in context. A cut of £30 a week would have a huge impact on nearly all affected families and individuals in this country. We have heard in previous debates about tax credits and universal credit about the kind of impacts such a drop in income would have. The amount of £30 a week is equivalent to raising council tax for a household in a band D property in St Helens by 7.5% every year for the next decade. This cut does it in one go.

Child benefit is £20.70 a week for the first child and £13.70 for an additional child. When the Government proposed to withdraw those amounts from individuals earning enough to pay the 40% tax rate, putting them among the top 15% of earners in this country, they produced huge outrage among Government Back-Bench Members. There were newspaper campaigns—

5.36 pm

Three hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on Lords amendments, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83F), That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 1.

The House divided:

Ayes 310, Noes 277.

Division No. 193]

[

5.36 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Crabb, rh Stephen

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Simon Kirby

and

Sarah Newton

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, rh Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty-Hughes, Martin

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Elliott, Tom

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gibson, Patricia

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodge, rh Dame Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinahan, Danny

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

McMahon, Jim

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Paisley, Ian

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Sammy

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Dame Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Noes:

Holly Lynch

and

Sue Hayman

Question accordingly agreed to.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 240

23 Feb 2016 : Column 241

23 Feb 2016 : Column 242

23 Feb 2016 : Column 243

23 Feb 2016 : Column 244

Lords amendment 1 disagreed to.

The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83F.)

Clause 13

Employment and support allowance: work-related activity component

Motion made, and Question put, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 8.—(Priti Patel.)

The House divided:

Ayes 306, Noes 279.

Division No. 194]

[

5.51 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Menzies, Mark

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Simon Kirby

and

Sarah Newton

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, rh Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty-Hughes, Martin

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Elliott, Tom

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Field, rh Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gibson, Patricia

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodge, rh Dame Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinahan, Danny

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

McMahon, Jim

McPartland, Stephen

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Paisley, Ian

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Sammy

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Dame Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Noes:

Holly Lynch

and

Sue Hayman

Question accordingly agreed to.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 245

23 Feb 2016 : Column 246

23 Feb 2016 : Column 247

23 Feb 2016 : Column 248

Lords amendment 8 disagreed to.

Clause 14

Universal credit: limited capability for work element

Motion made, and Question put, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 9.—(Priti Patel.)

The House divided:

Ayes 304, Noes 280.

Division No. 195]

[

6.6 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kennedy, Seema

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

Menzies, Mark

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Simon Kirby

and

Sarah Newton

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, rh Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty-Hughes, Martin

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Elliott, Tom

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Field, rh Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Gibson, Patricia

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodge, rh Dame Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinahan, Danny

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

McMahon, Jim

McPartland, Stephen

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Paisley, Ian

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reeves, Rachel

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Sammy

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Dame Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Noes:

Sue Hayman

and

Vicky Foxcroft

Question accordingly agreed to.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 249

23 Feb 2016 : Column 250

23 Feb 2016 : Column 251

23 Feb 2016 : Column 252

23 Feb 2016 : Column 253

Lords amendment 9 disagreed to.

Lords amendments 2 to 7 and 10 to 33 agreed to, with Commons financial privileges waived in respect of Lords amendments 2 to 6 and 11.

Lords amendment 34 disagreed to.

Government amendment (a) made in lieu of Lords amendment 34.

Lords amendments 35 to 57 agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83H), That a Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendments 1, 8 and 9;

That Neil Gray, Holly Lynch, Amanda Milling, Guy Opperman, Priti Patel, David Rutley and Owen Smith be members of the Committee;

That Priti Patel be the Chair of the Committee;

That three be the quorum of the Committee.

That the Committee do withdraw immediately.—(Guy Opperman.)

Question agreed to.

Committee to withdraw immediately; reasons to be reported and communicated to the Lords.


The Secretary of State for Scotland (David Mundell): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I confirm that this afternoon the United Kingdom and Scottish Governments have reached agreement on the fiscal framework? This is the arrangement that underpins the significant new powers being delivered to the Scottish Parliament by the Scotland Bill, which is currently being considered in the other place. I believe that this agreement will allow the Bill to proceed through this Parliament, and I hope very much to receive a legislative consent motion from the Scottish Parliament. I intend to make a full statement to the House tomorrow, and I will this evening appear by video link before the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, but I wanted to use this opportunity to draw the House’s attention to the fact that this significant agreement has been concluded. It will allow the Scottish Parliament, after the forthcoming Scottish elections, to take on the significant new powers in tax and welfare that will make it one of the most powerful and accountable devolved Parliaments in the world. I am sure that the whole House will welcome the fact that this agreement has been concluded.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The House will note that he will make a statement to the House tomorrow, which will be the opportunity for the House to discuss this matter, but he was absolutely right to bring this information to the House as soon as he was able to do so.

Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it in order to congratulate the Scottish and UK Governments on reaching a funding deal for devolved Government in Scotland, and is it appropriate to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary of State for giving me personal advance notice of his point of order? I look forward to his statement tomorrow. I think it is appropriate to

23 Feb 2016 : Column 254

commend First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney for their efforts in fending off Treasury attempts to short-change Scotland to the tune of £7 billion. It would also be churlish not to acknowledge the final acknowledgement by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that the rule of no detriment was key to reaching success between the Scottish and UK Governments.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. He has duly given notice to the House of the arguments he will make tomorrow.

Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I add my congratulations to the Secretary of State and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and indeed to the First Minister and the Finance Secretary in Scotland, on reaching this agreement? It shows us that when two people want to tango, they certainly can dance. Will the Secretary of State indulge the House by letting us know whether we will see some of the documentation before the statement tomorrow? This is a hugely complex agreement with significant figures, and I wonder whether it will be possible to get advance sight of the fiscal framework well ahead of tomorrow’s statement.

David Mundell: Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am able to confirm that the documentation will be available for scrutiny. On the timing of my statement, I cannot commit to exactly when it will be.

Mr Chuka Umunna (Streatham) (Lab): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether you might provide some advice and give me your view. This afternoon in our proceedings, we were scheduled to have a Backbench Business Committee debate on serious youth violence and gang violence, which are blighting many of our inner-city areas. Unfortunately, because our business is overrunning, we will not have time for that debate and I will not be able to move my motion. However, do you not think it appropriate that we send out a message today, for those who may not be familiar with the proceedings of the House of Commons, that the fact that this debate has been delayed in no way sends a signal that this House does not appreciate the importance of the issue? I am pleased to inform the House that the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee has indicated to me that an alternative slot will be found for us to have the debate at the earliest opportunity, which I hope will be next week.

Madam Deputy Speaker: The hon. Gentleman is well aware that that is not strictly a point for the Chair to deal with. However, I commend him for taking the opportunity to make that very important point for those who are not familiar with the proceedings of this House, and to emphasise the fact that the subject matter of the debate that he tried to instigate today is extremely important and taken very seriously by Members from all parts of the House. I sincerely hope that the Backbench Business Committee will find time in the near future, when I am quite sure that the House will welcome the opportunity, to debate the hon. Gentleman’s very important motion.

23 Feb 2016 : Column 255