Second reading of Welfare Reform Bill, now have your say

10 March 2011

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, introduced the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday 9 March

The Bill passed with a vote and will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs who took part in the debate.

Have your say

The Bill has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee for scrutiny and there is a call for written evidence.

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Welfare Reform Bill? If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

Guidance on submitting written evidence 

Deadline for submissions

The Committee is able to receive written evidence from Wednesday 9 March, when the Bill passes the Second Reading Stage; and will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Tuesday 24 May. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration. The Public Bill Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 22 March.

Summary of the Bill

The Bill provides for the introduction of a 'Universal Credit' to replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age, starting from 2013. The Bill follows the November 2010 White Paper, 'Universal Credit: welfare that works', which set out the Coalition Government’s proposals for reforming welfare to improve work incentives, simplify the benefits system and tackle administrative complexity.

Besides introducing Universal Credit and related measures, the Bill makes other significant changes to the benefits system.

Key areas

  • introduces Personal Independence Payments to replace the current Disability Living Allowance
  • restricts Housing Benefit entitlement for social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need
  • up-rates Local Housing Allowance rates by the Consumer Price Index
  • amends the forthcoming statutory child maintenance scheme
  • limits the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to a 12-month period
  • caps the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings on the Welfare Reform Bill and find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library regularly produce briefing notes which inform MPs about key issues. The Library has produced two Research Papers on the Welfare Reform Bill.

Second reading

Second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill. It usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after first reading.

What happens at second reading?

The Government minister, spokesperson or MP responsible for the Bill opens the second reading debate. The official Opposition spokesperson responds with their views on the Bill.

The debate continues with other Opposition parties and backbench MPs giving their opinions.

At the end of the debate, the Commons decides whether the Bill should be given its second reading by voting, meaning it can proceed to the next stage.

What happens after second reading?

The Bill proceeds to committee stage and will be considered in a Public Bill Committee. Each clause (part) and any amendments (proposals for change) to the Bill may be debated.

Image: PA

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