Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill: Lords third reading

26 March 2013

The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill had its third reading, a final chance for changes, yesterday (Monday 25 March)

Members discussed one amendment put forward by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope (Liberal Democrat). It proposed that an annual report be presented to Parliament setting out the costs of the Act's provisions, including a comparison with costs had benefits been increased in level with the Consumer Price Index.

Other members argued the amendment was unnecessary: Lord King of Bridgwater (Conservative), a former Secretary of State for Employment, Defence and Northern Ireland, said that this was something the Treasury did anyway so there was no point '...writing complicated additional amendments into a Bill on a matter that will surely be part of the normal purpose of government.'

Lord McKenzie of Luton (Labour), oppostion spokesperson for work and pensions, said that although he was in agreement with Lord Kirkwood's concerns about the bill, and that a review would provide an opportunity to take stock, '...I recognise that the House has spoken on this matter.'

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat), governement spokesperson for the Treasury, outlined the government's existing mechanisms for measuring the financial implications of policy and legislation and asked Lord Kirkwood to withdraw his amendment, which he did.

The bill will pass to the Commons for consideration of amendments. 

Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill summary

The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill implements an announcement by the Chancellor in the 2012 Autumn Statement that increases in certain working-age welfare benefits and tax credits would be limited to one per cent, rather than increasing them in line with inflation.

Previous stages of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill

What is third reading?

Third reading in the chamber is the final chance for the Lords to change the contents of a bill and plug any remaining loopholes.

The day before third reading starts, amendments (proposals for change) are published in a marshalled list – in which all the amendments are placed in order.

Unlike the House of Commons, amendments can be made at third reading in the House of Lords, provided the issue has not been fully considered and voted on at an earlier stage.
Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.

Further information

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