Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill — Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:19 pm on 21st March 2013.

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Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government) 5:19 pm, 21st March 2013

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in support of the amendment. I say to the Minister that we did have a constructive approach this afternoon. This debate has focused clearly on a whole range of issues. I am bound to say that we still feel that the Minister is largely in denial over various areas or lacking information. Asserting that something is something does not make it a reality. That is disappointing thus far. The phrase which we particularly object to is that there is somehow a group of people who do not deserve a windfall when what they have done is to comply with the law as it stands. That cannot be right.

My noble friends have made powerful points on a whole range of issues, to which we will feel compelled to return when we get to Committee. Like others, I acknowledge the extremely important contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, who destroyed the Government's case. I would say to the noble Lord that it would be very good if, from time to time, we could second him to the other place to help out with some of the deliberations there.

There is much still to discuss on this Bill in the short time we have available. Today, it is right that we register that the state of affairs which the Government have brought in respect of this matter is reflected in a Motion which deplores that position. I beg to test the opinion of the House.