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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 19th March 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North 2:45 pm, 19th March 2015

Certainly, it is an issue across the entire country. I hear from people who are told at 6 o’clock in the morning that they are required for work, or, worse still, that they are not required for work. That is nonsense. What surety of income does that give them as they go into the week ahead?

The value of the national minimum wage has dropped by 5% since 2010, which is why the amount spent on in-work benefits and tax credits has risen 18%. Why cannot this outgoing Government recognise that people want to earn their money and look after their families rather than exist in a dead end, low-paid role that leaves them dependent on the state? What of those who, through no fault of their own, are dependent on the state? I fear what the Chancellor is planning to do to them next. Why is the Chancellor so coy about spelling out where the £12 billion cut in welfare spending will fall? Is it because he knows that decent people will baulk at his plans to devalue further the incomes of our most vulnerable?

Has the Minister seen the report that came overnight from Herriot-Watt university for Centrepoint, which shows that more young people will be homeless as a result of Government policies, and that many in work could lose their jobs if their housing benefit is removed and they are forced to return to live with their parents? We should not forget that this Government’s policies have seen these young people shoulder a disproportionate share of austerity and its worst effects.