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Part of Orders of the Day — Social Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:49 pm on 20th May 1986.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn , Islington North 9:49 pm, 20th May 1986

I shall take only one minute.

One million words were spoken during the three months of the Committee stage of the Bill; there were 42 sittings, more than 100 Divisions and more than 450 amendments. At every stage, the Government showed that they were determined to cut the living standards of the poorest people by the removal of more than £700 million in benefit payments. It is incredible that, throughout all the stages of the Bill, the Government talked about cash-limiting, efficiencies and savings, but more people will be poorer, more people will have to go cap in hand to the social security, the power of benefit officers will be greater than ever and the power of the individual against the state and the DHSS will be significantly reduced as a result of the Bill. The same Government are prepared to write an open cheque for the purchase of nuclear weapons because they believe that to be more important than providing for the poor.

The Bill will probably receive its Third Reading tonight, because Conservative Members will wander through the Lobby and vote for it. But the Government will be removed at the general election. A new Social Security Bill will be introduced, which will have the sole objective of removing poverty in Britain. This Bill has increased poverty. The Committee stage of the Bill was interesting. I look forward to the defeat of the Government and all the Conservative Members who so happily supported the Bill.