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12.01.12

Welfare changes to continue despite Lords defeat

The Government will continue with changes to the Welfare Bill, despite defeats in the House of Lords, ministers suggest.

Labour peers and independent crossbenches rejected proposals to means-test benefits for young disabled people and cancer patients on Wednesday.

Peers voted 260 to 216 to protect young disabled people from cuts to the ESA, 234 to 186 for a two-year limit on claims, rather than the proposed one-year limit and 222 to 166 to exempt cancer patients from a limit. Three Lib Dem peers joined the opposition to vote against.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said ministers would seek to reverse the Lords’ amendments when they came back to the Commons and that the Government “can’t provide everything to everyone”, particularly in difficult financial times.

“What we can’t do is provide support for people who have other financial means,” he said.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “For months Labour has been determined to stop this cruel attack on cancer patients in its tracks. And today the House of Lords agreed.

“The Government’s proposal to cut paid-for benefits for people still in chemotherapy crosses the basic test of fairness.”

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