Welfare Reform Bill

Part of Tied Public Houses (Code of Practice) – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 9th March 2011.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire 2:26 pm, 9th March 2011

I welcome this opportunity to support the Bill, which will bring about probably the biggest change in the welfare state for 60 years. I disagree with Mr Byrne on certain points. The Bill is about helping people into work and establishing big principles for the future, and it really is not good enough to make a speech saying, “We want to help people into work,” but then to deny the means to do that. He is saying that the Bill should not go ahead. He is saying that the details—which should be debated, I agree with him on that—are sufficient to allow him to deny this major Bill a Second Reading. Well, he is wrong about that. He has issues that he rightly wants to discuss in Committee, and he has the support of numerous groups throughout the country that want those points of detail to be considered. Yes, he is right about that, but, my goodness, he is wrong to say that the Bill, which does such important things, should not go ahead.

Let us consider the idea of the universal credit. We will finally be able to say that a person will always be better off in work. That is a big principle; that is important. I venture to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman agrees with that in his heart of hearts, yet he is saying that we should not introduce those measures. I notice that he is not prepared to listen to this—