Yesterday was a busy day for most campaigners. Here at PP it was no different.
From WCA debates, evidence sessions relating to Draft Care and Support Bill, release of 2 reports, one from an alliance of groups, and one from The Centre for Welfare Reform. see notes below
However, in this post we would like to share details of another debate that took place in the House of Lords, a motion presented by Baroness Hollis about the impact on families of changes to tax and benefits . You can see transcript here and also Impact on families PDF here.
This was a quiet debate but contributors spoke with such feeling and passion as they stressed how cuts were disproportionately hitting poor families, working families, children, disabled people, and also carers.
One exchange with Lord Freud needs special reference though. (We have highlighted it below but please read his full response on the Hansard link above)
The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, raised a question about cumulative impacts, and I was fascinated by her sums on this. However, I need to point out that this Government publish impacts of benefit and tax changes alongside each Budget and Autumn Statement. That is something that previous Governments did not do.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham:
Is the Minister acknowledging that the Government have not published a cumulative analysis of the cuts, benefits and tax changes since 2010? If he is so doing, which I think is what he has said, it is still done slice by slice. Can we hope that he will do so-will he give a commitment to do so in future?
Lord Freud: My Lords, it is bluntly impossible to do a total cumulative assessment. I have looked at doing it, and you do not know what to put in and what to leave out. No one has done it in the past; it is not possible. Doing it year by year, as we do, is the best we can do-and it gives a fair view of what happens in a particular year.
In her closing speech Baroness Hollis replied -
The noble Lord, Lord Freud, referred to cumulative assessment. With the help of Citizens Advice and Landman Economics, we were able to work out pretty precisely-to within 10p or so-the total cumulative effect, since 2010, of the benefit cuts and tax changes. I did it for one family type-the security guard with a wife and two children. If we can do it over a weekend with wet towels and half a bottle of gin, I am quite sure that the Government can do it with the numbers of staff that they have in the Treasury. The answer is that the Government are not choosing to do it. They do not want to be shamed by us and others as to the effect of what they have done over time. There cannot be any other reason why the noble Lord, of all people, who has the utmost respect from the House for his integrity on these issues, and the Government continue to duck the consequences of their action by giving us the cumulative statistics today.
We applaud Baroness Hollis for securing this debate, and pressing the need for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. As for Lord Freud, we have a message for him.
Saying something is “bluntly impossible” is –
“BLUNTLY NOT ACCEPTABLE“ to us
For the health, wellbeing and safety of people in this country, it is vital a full cumulative impact assessment is carried out.
We ask as many people/groups join with us
and demand the Coalition government
make a committment to this.
Many people/groups reading this have been with us from the beginning, others join in daily as awareness grows, of these callous policies from the Coalition government and the impact they will have on many families.
YOUR help is needed again.
Contact your MP, details here.
Write and ask them to press David Cameron for a full Cumulative Impact Assessment to be undertaken, of how ALL these changes, at the same time, are wrong.
Contact Lord Freud – tell him how you are being affected by the changes to benefits and services. email@example.com
and all at PP
Work Capability Assessment - Hansard transcript here
watch live here frwd to 2 hrs 18 mins
The Centre for Welfare reform - A Fair Society report
Draft care and Support Bill Wednesday Jan 16th watch here
Thurs Jan 17th watch here
The Other Care Crisis - full report here
Tags: benefits, blindness, carers, carerwatch, cumulative impact assessment, disability, disability living allowance, employment support allowance, hardest hit, iain duncan smith, personal independence payment, universal credit, welfare reform, work capability assessment