Fresh plan to overturn new welfare amendments
The government will seek to overturn the latest amendment to the welfare reform bill agreed by the House of Lords.
Peers last night voted by 236 votes to 226 to exclude certain vulnerable groups of people from a proposed bedroom tax for underoccupying social tenants if they have a spare room and no other homes are available.
The measure, tabled by crossbench peer Lord Richard Best, would see disabled people, war widows, foster carers and those not subject to work-related requirements exempted from the penalty until other suitable accommodation becomes available.
The proposal would reduce the estimated savings from the policy by £100 million. The amendment is a compromise on an earlier amendment passed by the Lords, which would have exempted all tenants with a spare room where there is no other accommodation, which would have reduced the saving by £300 million.
Despite the compromise, welfare minister Lord David Freud, said the government would seek to overturn the amendment when the bill returns to the Commons later this month.
He said: ‘Clearly, it is difficult to agree amendments and send them to another place [the Commons] when they have such significant costs attached to them.’
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: ‘The House of Commons has made its position clear on amendments which would result in additional spending, and the government will seek to overturn the size criteria amendment when the bill returns for further consideration by the Commons.
‘The majority of the public agree with the government’s welfare reforms and we look forward to delivering on these radical proposals that will make our welfare system better and fairer.’