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.
- 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.
Progress of the Bill
The Welfare Reform Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 16 February 2011 and received second reading on 9 March 2011. The Bill was considered in a Public Bill Committee between 22 March to 24 May 2011. The report stage and third reading took place on 15 June 2011.
The Bill was sent to the House of Lords for consideration. The Lords made amendments to the Bill and these were considered by the Commons on 1 February 2012.
The amendments disagreed to by the Commons on 1 February 2012 were considered again by the House of Lords on 14 February 2012.
The House of Lords proposed amendments in lieu of the amendments disagreed to which were considered by the House of Commons on 21 February 2012.
Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Welfare Reform Bill and find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.
Proceedings on Lords amendments
MPs considered the following Lords amendments in lieu, 3B, 26B, 17B to 17D, 19B and 73BA.
Lords Amendments in lieu to the Welfare Reform Bill
Lords amendment 3B relates to Clause 11 (Housing costs) and Lords amendment 26B relates to Clause 68 (Housing Benefit determination of appropriate maximum). The Commons agreed to disagree to amendments 3B and 26B on a division (Ayes: 316, Noes: 263).
Lords amendments 17B to 17D relate to Clause 51 (Period of entitlement to contributory allowance (Employment and Support Allowance)) and were agreed to, with Commons financial privelage waived.
Lords amendment 73BA relates to Clause 139, a new clause to be added to the Bill relating to Fees, Child maintanance and other payments. Amendment 73BA was agreed to, with Commons financial privelage waived.
Committee of Reason
The Commons appointed a Committee of Reason to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords as to why the Commons disagreed to their Amendments 3B and 26B.
The Commons disagree to Lords Amendments 3B and 26B because it would alter the financial arrangements made by the Commons to the Bill.
The House of Lords will now consider the Reasons.
Watch and read the proceedings on Lords amendments and the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.
When a Bill has passed through third reading in both Houses it is returned to the first House (where it started) for the second House's amendments (proposals for change) to be considered.
Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the Bill. There is no set time period between the third reading of a Bill and consideration of any Commons or Lords amendments.
If the Commons makes amendments to the Bill, the Lords must consider them and either agree or disagree to the amendments or make alternative proposals.
If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons.
A Bill may go back and forth between each House (‘Ping Pong’) until both Houses reach agreement.
What happens after consideration of amendments?
Once the Commons and Lords agree on the final version of the Bill, it can receive Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament (the proposals of the Bill now become law).