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Anti-poor ‘prejudice and political posturing’ reigns in Parliament, says John McDonnell MP

1st February 2012

The Government today (1 Feb) reversed seven House of Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill, and invoked a rarely used parliamentary statute to prevent any further consideration of the Bill. Restrictions to disabled people’s benefits, including cancer patients, and a cap on the amount a household can claim were the centrepieces of the government’s bill – despite massive opposition from the House of Lords, the Labour Party, welfare organisations, charities and disability campaigners.

Speaking in the debate, LRC Chair John McDonnell MP, said:

“In every recession there are scapegoats, and it is usually the poor, who become a political football for political game-playing and advantage. I am not morally willing to involve myself in that debasing political game.

“The cap is supposed to control costs, but, as has been said time and again, we simply need to control rents. My view is simply that the cap is unnecessary and based on prejudice and political posturing.

“Today we are hearing similar expressions to those used in the debates about the poor law which eventually led to policies of less eligibility and the workhouse. We do not seem to have learned anything in two centuries about poverty and how to tackle it.”


Read the full text of John’s speech in Parliament

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