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How much is enough?

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  • How much is enough?

    You cannot have failed to have heard the furore over the proposed benefit cuts - and the proposal to charge parents for using the CSA. Only last week, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, defended the proposals by stating "we're not asking much".

    In the sixth Lords defeat for Mr Duncan Smith's benefits shake-up, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined Labour peers to vote by a majority of 142 against the move on Wednesday night. In reply, the DWP vowed to seek to overturn the latest amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill when it returns to the Commons - and that is precisely what happened yesterday (1 February 2012).

    The coalition won seven key votes in the Commons, rejecting amendments made by peers and reinstating their original proposals into the legislation. These include plans for a £26,000 annual limit on total household benefits, including child benefit. Ministers say they will use a rule known as "financial privilege" to ensure Parliament approves the cap. This will mean the Lords cannot send the same amendments back to the Commons when they re-consider the bill for a final time, preventing what is known as "ping pong" between the two chambers and effectively ending parliamentary opposition.

    The Commons also overturned the Lords amendment calling for single parents not to be charged for accessing the Child Support Agency by 318 to 257 votes - but only after ministers said they would reduce planned upfront fees to £20.


Published: 03/02/2012

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