Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 17th November 2016.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment) 3:23 pm, 17th November 2016

I thank everyone who has taken part in this debate. There have been some wonderful speeches on both sides of the House calling on the Government to press pause on these cuts. The vast majority of the more than 20 Back-Bench speakers have supported the premise of the motion. I do not want to single out any Member, but all the contributions have come together to send a very clear message to the Government about what the House thinks on these matters.

I hope that the debate has given the Government cause to think again, including about how to pause the cuts at least until a new and appropriate form of disability employment support can be considered and put in place. The debate has been about building a constructive case for the Government to consider: it has been cross-party, well-tempered and, above all, an appeal. In that spirit, I wrote to the Chancellor last week offering to meet him ahead of the autumn statement to discuss how to stop the cuts happening before a replacement is considered. I reiterate that message and that offer, which is genuinely made, to Work and Pensions Ministers.

This issue is too important and the need for action is too urgent for us to retreat into party trenches. The Government must work on the same basis as that on which this debate has been conducted to deliver for and meet the needs of people such as John Clarke.

Question put.

The House divided:

Ayes 127, Noes 0.