The Lib Dems have opposed George Osborne's welfare cuts tonight in parliament. The eight remaining Lib Dem MPs tabled a parliamentary motion calling for the withdrawal of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, singling out the proposed cuts to disability benefits as being particularly unfair.
The Liberal Democrats are barely out of the door, but millions of men and women throughout the country are now anxiously working out how Osborne’s £12 billion in welfare cuts will cost them and their family.
While no one can say that the last five years have been easy, the Liberal Democrats in government fought for, and won, reductions in level of welfare cuts in the last parliament. We secured protection for child tax credits for the poorest recipients, invested in free child care and free school meals for more children than ever before, and championed the pensions triple lock that will keep pensioners out of poverty.
The Conservative plans for £12 billion of welfare cuts have not been fully outlined, but the recent budget begins to show the shape of what is to come. Limiting child tax credits and universal credit to the first two children of any family sets a worrying precedent, especially given the pre-election rumours of Tory plans to cap child benefit in the same way during this parliament.
Welfare spending needs to be kept under control, but it needs to be fair. The scale of the cuts will be excessive and unfair. It is a tragedy that, after five long and hard years, the poor will find themselves subject to such a punitive welfare regime with no one left in government to fight for a fair approach to welfare.