Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Exercising the muscles of the peers

There are two issues to be alert for here. The most prominent is the argument about the tolerable level of public assistance. That's mostly a policy issue for Brits. The other topic, more for non-Brits to heed, is the role of Lords in shaping policy.

Lords is often overlooked as a player in policy making. It does offer a debating forum for considering policy alternatives, and, as in this case, a force to change policy.

Welfare reform: Lords bid for benefits cap concessions
Peers will press for changes to plans for a £26,000 cap on the benefits families can receive when the measure is debated in the House of Lords later.

Church of England bishops and some Liberal Democrats will push for child benefit to be excluded from the cap - so as not to penalise large families.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says there are exemptions for some disabled people and those in work…

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown has said he will vote against the plans, unless there are measures to cushion the impact on those affected…

The changes would affect England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland has its own social security legislation, but it is expected that what is approved at Westminster would be introduced there too.

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