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Not a defeat over punishment – but an amendment regarding how to punish!

October 23, 2009

The House of Lords succeeded with an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill today.  Good thing you might think, and it is in a very small way – but not good enough!

New Labour; Shower of Shit wished to dock benefits for single parents with children under 5, if they do not play ball with the training/punishment regime.  It was argued that other forms of punishment would be more acceptable.

Well, fuck the lot of them!!!!!

Bringing up a child of any age is WORK.  Bringing up a child as a single parent is even more WORK.  That is what should have been challenged, but of course – they are all the same greedy fuckers who have no idea about life as it’s actually lived by the majority of the population.  Fucking monsters.   

Update: I heard some of the fucking monsters debating on the radio so have looked up the Hansard of the debate which is here and here (and was stupidly difficult to find).

The Government was defeated in the Lords today as peers backed a move that will prevent single parents of children under five suffering financial sanctions if they fail to take part in work-related activity.

Proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill will require lone parents with a youngest child older than three to start complying with measures aimed at making them ready for work by the time the child is seven.

But Tories and Liberal Democrats combined as peers voted by 103 to 97, majority six, to limit the parents who could be the subject of financial sanctions.

For Tories, Lord Freud, a former Government welfare adviser, said the measure would be a “safety brake”.

He suggested other sanctions such as “controls on how and in what form” single parents could spend their benefits.

“It always seemed illogical to come in with the full force of financial sanctions against a community that is subsisting on the breadline in many cases,” he said.

“What are you expecting, for people to starve. There must be more imaginative ways of running this sanctions regime.”

But Labour’s Baroness Hollis of Heigham, a former work and pensions minister, challenged him on why he believed it was still acceptable to impose sanctions on a single parent with a child as young as one who failed to attend a work-focused interview, as opposed to a work-related activity.

Lord Freud replied that the current regime under which sanctions could be imposed was a “light” regime as opposed to the new regime which “could be onerous”.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester, for Liberal Democrats, said: “We know that many lone parents of very young children lead very chaotic lives. Is it right to dock their benefit if they fail to attend an episode of work-related activity?”

She said that imposing sanctions sent out a signal to single parents that “looking after their own children in a hands-on full-time way during the child’s first five years is not as important to society as their preparing for the world of work”.

Lord McKenzie said that a lone parent whose youngest child was under seven will not be required “to be available for or actively seeking work” but the Government’s proposals would “help parents in their journey” towards getting a job.

He added: “Given the broad spectrum of activities that count as work-related activities we would hope that in most cases customers and advisers would be able to find suitable activities.

“However, if a lone parent fails to take such activities despite all the safeguards we would want the ability, as a last resort, to impose a sanction until they comply.”

Lord McKenzie, the junior Work and Pensions minister, indicated that he would look at a Liberal Democrat move to exempt all single parents of a disabled child under the age of 16 from having to take part in work-related activity.

At present only parents of children on the highest forms of disability living allowance would be excused from the activities.

But Lady Thomas moved an amendment that would extend the exemption to single parents of children on any form of the allowance.
Lord McKenzie said he would see if he could find a solution at third reading that “meets the requirements” of the Liberal Democrat amendment.

He later formally introduced Government proposals which provide exemptions for single parents, such as not forcing them into work before their youngest child is seven. He said they provided the “assurances and safeguards” peers had been seeking.

Lord Freud said the Government amendments went “a long way to satisfying” Tory concerns expressed at earlier stages in the Bill.

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