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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley 6:37 pm, 20th July 2015

Yes, but clearly the principle is that people should have to make the same choices if they are claiming benefits in work or are in work and not claiming benefits. It is not entirely clear whether the Labour party supports limiting child tax credit to the first two children. It sounds like it might support it, but that it dare not quite say so tonight.

Finally, the hardest issue in the Bill is the level of welfare for people in the work-related activity group. We have to get work capability assessments right. We have to get people in the right group, and people must believe themselves to be in the right group. I have seen constituents who have been through the assessment and have accepted the WRAG as a compromise on the basis that they will get much the same as they would get in the support group, but will have some requirements put on them. However, they thought that they should be in the support group. People who ought to be in the support group, but have chosen to be in the WRAG need support to put their situation right.

We need people to get the support that they need. Those who can never and will never work again need the right support. It is not in their interests or ours to put them in a different group. Clearly, we have to get the system right so that those who are in the group where they are meant to be able to work at some point in the future have the right incentives to take the support, undergo the training and get into work, rather than trying to stay on benefits claiming the slightly higher rate. We need to see the detail of how we can get that right and make it fair, so that we do not end up with perverse incentives.

Overall, I welcome the Bill. It is an important step forward in sorting out our deficit and making our welfare system fair for those who are claiming from it and those who are paying for it.