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Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:48 pm on 17th December 2014.

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Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Labour, South Shields 5:48 pm, 17th December 2014

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend, and I shall say something about the issue that he has raised later in my speech.

In the past, we had a welfare state with a supportive safety net. When I was unemployed, and when members of my family and I fell on hard times, I was proud to live in a country in which they and I would be able to get help. Sadly, that is no longer the case. I remain proud of my country, but not of the people who are running it. The fact is that the safety net no longer exists. Since the coalition introduced its welfare reforms, we have experienced a harsh and punitive regime. We have a culture that no longer talks to people about their circumstances or tries to understand their hardship, but sanctions them without hesitation and cuts them off from any means of financial support without a care.