The government suffered a key defeat in the House of Lords last night, after an amendment tabled by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds scuppered an attempt to cap welfare payments.
Peers passed an amendment proposed by the Bishop, to government plans to introduce a £26,000 household cap on total state benefits.
The amendment removes child benefit from the calculation, meaning that it can be paid in addition to the capped figure, a move which the government had said would make the bill ‘meaningless’.
Now the government, which faced opposition from of a number of rebel Lib Dem Lords, as well as Labour Peers, will take the legislation back to the house of commons, where critics say they will try to ‘force it through’.
Under the bill, a family which receives £26,000 in benefits, would see their income capped, at what is the ‘national average wage’. But the Rt Rev John Packer, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, pointed out that a family which earns the national average wage, or more more, can still be eligible for child benefit, and therefore it should therefore not be included in the benefit cap.
Bishop Packer was backed by other bishops,and also won the backing of former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who voted against the coalition government for the first time.
January 24th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross