Sarah Teather may have been absent for the Welfare Reform Bill vote, but her voting record on the Lords’ amendments tells a different story

Much has been made about Sarah Teather’s now public opposition against the Government’s flagship Welfare Reforms. It featured prominently in the Guardian as a lead story over the weekend where she claimed that what the Government, which she was a part of, was immoral and divisive – LINK.

When it came to the vote for the Welfare Reform Bill, the Brent Central MP was a notable absentee. However, her voting record on the amendments from the Lords paints a different picture.

She voted loyally with her Tory Liberal pals on the Welfare Reform Bill Clause 11 about Housing costs – LINK

3B Page 5, line 21, at end insert—

In relation to a dwelling of which the landlord is a local housing authority or a registered provider of social housing, and no suitable alternative accommodation (as defined in regulations to be made under this section, and provided by any such provider) is available, regulations under this section shall not permit the housing cost element of the universal credit to be less than the actual amount of the liability in a case where a household has no more than one spare bedroom, and—

(a) the claimant is subject to no work related requirements in accordance with the provisions of section 19;

(b) the claimant, or a child or a young person for whom either or both the claimants is responsible, is in receipt of disability living allowance, or personal independence payment, or attendance allowance or an increase of disablement pension where constant attendance is required; or

(c) the claimant is a war widow or widower; or

(d) the claimant routinely provides foster care placements.

(3B) In subsection (3A), “claimant” means a single claimant or joint claimant.””

Clause 68

26B Page 52, line 36, at end insert—

“( ) In relation to a dwelling of which the landlord is a local housing authority or a registered provider of social housing, and no suitable alternative accommodation (as defined in regulations to be made under this section, and provided by any such provider) is available, regulations under this Welfare Reform Bill 3 section shall not permit the AMHB to be less than the actual amount of the liability in a case where a household has no more than one spare bedroom, and—

(a) the claimant is subject to no work-related requirements in accordance with the provisions of section 11D of the Welfare Reform Act 2007;

(b) the claimant, their partner or a child or a young person for whom the claimant (or their partner) is responsible, is in receipt of disability living allowance, or personal independence payment, or attendance allowance or an increase of disablement pension where constant attendance is required;

(c) the claimant is a war widow or widower; or

(d) the claimant or their partner routinely provides foster care placements.”

Lords Amendment 3B and 26B that was voted down by Sarah Teather

In short, disabled people who have had their properties adapted or live in accessible accommodation face the prospect of being penalised for having an extra room. This will have a detrimental impact on people who have had their own property made accessible for their individual needs and could lead to people having to move and make their new property accessible! In addition, people who are wheelchair users and may need the extra room for storing equipment such as mobility scooters and standing frames also will be adversely affected by this Government’s damaging policy. This Lords amendment on the Welfare Reform Bill, which Sarah Teather voted down would have protected the most vulnerable in our society from what is being called the ‘Bedroom Tax.’

On reading the New Clause 2 on Childcare (Welfare Reform Bill (Programme) (No. 2)) she voted loyally with Government (LINK) She voted with Government on (Programme) (No. 2) Schedule 1 Universal credit: supplementary regulation-making powers (LINK) and also on (Programme) (No. 2) on Financial conditions (LINK)

Sarah Teather may have been absent for the Welfare Reform Bill vote, but her voting record on clauses and amendments tells a different story. To coin a phrase that London Assembly Member Tom Copley used, Teather’s crocodile tears on the Government’s welfare reforms is pure Lib-Demmery at its worst.

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