Welfare Reform Bill — Report (5th Day)
The Bishop of Chichester (Bishop)
My Lords, I am extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for responding to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton. I was feeling anxious abut what I should say but the noble Lord has largely made my case for me. One of the issues here is not just the moral and philosophical question of whether the benefits system needs to incentivise people to work and to take the initiative in their lives. We can all agree on that. The issue is that the Bill is going through the House at a time of unprecedented austerity when burdens are falling on families who are among the most vulnerable. There are times when one has the luxury of having a big social debate but this is not the time when we should burden poor families with more costs and burdens. We should debate these big philosophical questions on other occasions when we have more leisure to do so.