The House of Lords stands up for children

Children celebrate at Stand Up and Be Counted rally. © Unicef UK/2009/Maeve McClenaghanChildren celebrate at Stand Up and Be Counted rally. © Unicef UK/2009/Maeve McClenaghan

This week saw major rebellion in the House of Lords, with Peers voting against two significant parts of the Welfare Reform Bill as it made its passage through Parliament.

Lord Ashdown, Unicef UK’s President, came out very strongly against the inclusion of child benefit payments within the new cap on benefits proposed as part of the coalition Government’s reform of the welfare system, and Peers voted for an amendment to remove child benefit from the cap. This defeat for the Government on Monday was followed on Wednesday by a second defeat – with Peers voting against the Government’s plans to charge single parents for the use of the Child Support Agency.

We urge the Government to reconsider its position on these and other issues as the Bill re-enters the House of Commons next week. Evidence to date, including from the Department for Work and Pensions itself, shows that policies such as the inclusion of child benefit in the benefit cap are likely to have a negative impact on children and families and risk plunging even more children in the UK into poverty.

Children are not responsible for the economic challenges we now face and it must be the first priority of Government to ensure that no child is made to suffer as a result of any reforms to the welfare system or any cuts in public spending.

Samantha Whyte is Domestic Policy and Parliamentary Manager at Unicef UK.


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