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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

UK government has lost three votes in the House of Lords on welfare reform !

The government has lost three votes in the House of Lords over its plans to cut the welfare bill.

Peers voted by 260 to 216 to protect up to 15,000 young disabled people from cuts to employment support allowance.

They voted 234 to 186 for a two-year limit on claims, rather than the proposed one year, and by 222 to 166 to exempt cancer sufferers from a limit.

Ministers also suffered a defeat last month over elements of their plans to overhaul housing benefit.

Unelected peers, led by crossbencher Baroness Meacher, argued it would have a "devastating" effect on young people with disabilities or long-term illnesses, depriving them of £25 a week.

She told the Lords: "These young people have conditions so severe that they are entitled to be supported.

"It really puts them in a completely different category from other people who grow up, are able to earn, able to build up capital, able to gain contributions.

In the second defeat on Wednesday evening, peers agreed a move to replace the one-year cap with the ability for the government to legislate for a limit of not less than two years.

"I am sympathetic to cutting the deficit, but I am highly sympathetic to sick and vulnerable people not being subjected to something that will make their lives even more miserable," said Lord Patel, who introduced the amendment.

His second amendment removed the time limit on contributory ESA payments for people receiving treatment for cancer.

The measures will now be removed from the government's welfare reform bill, being considered by peers.
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