Welfare Reform Bill Grand Committee: day 14

17 November 2011

The House of Lords debated the Welfare Reform Bill in Grand Committee – line by line examination – for a fourteenth day on Wednesday 16 November

Debate focused on disability benefits and changing the name of Personal Independence Payment, to Disability Living Cost Allowance.

Line by line scrutiny of the Bill continues for a fifteenth day on Monday 21 November.

Day 13

Debate focused on allowances for people with disabilities, including whether the section setting out these benefits should remain part of the Bill.

Discussion also included a proposal to use the term ‘disability living cost allowance’ to refer to these benefits instead of ‘personal independence payments’, which is the phrase the Bill currently uses.

Day 12

Discussion on Thursday 10 November covered clauses 54-57, 64 and 68-74 of the Bill.

Day 11

Discussion on Tuesday 8 November covered clauses 51 and 52 of the Bill on employment-related benefits, including duration of payments, and mental health issues and the ability to work.

Day 10

On Thursday 3 November, discussion included proposals to amend Schedule 1: Universal credit: supplementary regulation-making powers; Schedule 4: Housing credit element of state pension credit and Clause 38: Capability for work or work-related activity. The debate covered clauses 34, 35, 38, 41, 43, 44, 46 and 49 and schedules 1, 2, 4 and 6.

Day nine

On Tuesday 1 November, Members of the Lords discussed proposals concerning the work-related requirements claimants must meet while receiving universal credit, including schemes to pilot the requirements and assess how much they have helped claimants to move into work.

Amendments discussed covered clauses 22, 24, 26-28 and 30 of the Bill.

Further information

About the Bill

The Welfare Reform Bill makes provision for a wide range of reforms to simplify the welfare system, including the introduction of a new, single, streamlined benefit – which will be known as 'universal credit' – to replace benefits for people of working age, including jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit. The Bill also provides for the introduction of a new benefit – the 'personal independence payment' – to replace the existing disability living allowance.

The Bill follows the November 2010 White Paper, 'Universal Credit: welfare that works', which sets out the Coalition Government’s proposals for reforming welfare to improve work incentives, simplify the benefits system and tackle administrative complexity.

More than 50 Members of the Lords took part in the second reading debate on the Bill on 13 September, including Members with firsthand experience of the benefits system. A petition on housing was presented before the debate.

Committee reports

A report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, published in July, recommends a greater level of parliamentary scrutiny of some of the powers granted to the Secretary of State under the Bill. These include:

  • powers to determine entitlement to and the award of universal credit
  • the imposition of obligations on claimants and their ability to comply with a work availability requirement and hardship payments
  • powers to determine the appropriate maximum housing benefit
  • the mechanisms for setting a ‘benefit cap’.

The report recommends that the powers it draws attention to should be subject to affirmative procedures – a vote of approval – to come into effect.

Passage of the Bill

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the Bill takes place during committee stage.

The Grand Committee on the Welfare Reform Bill is taking place in Committee Room 4A. Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates.

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