Labour should not support measures which will increase child poverty. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill will increase child poverty and therefore I cannot support it. That is why I voted for Labour’s amendment which opposed the Bill, giving reasons including the adverse impact on child poverty. That was a vote against the Bill.
The Bill also includes measures to support more apprentices and measures to support troubled families. Although these measures do not go far enough, Labour should support them in principle. That is why, when Labour lost the vote on its amendment, I abstained on the final vote on the Second Reading of the Bill to allow these measures to proceed to the Committee Stage (which comes next.)
I did so after receiving a face to face assurance from Andy Burnham MP (who I am backing in Labour’s leadership election) that if, at Committee Stage, major changes are not made to the measures which will impact on child poverty, he will, as Labour’s leader, oppose the Bill when it returns to the House of Commons for the final and critical vote at the Third Reading. I will follow the same course.