On Monday (20th July) York Central Labour MP, Rachael Maskell, along with 47 other Labour MPs, voted against the controversial Welfare Reform Bill.
Speaking after last night’s vote Ms Maskell said:
“I believe we need to look deeper at the reasons we spend so much on welfare and understand these before we can start to make cuts. We should get tough on the causes of welfare, then we can be tough on welfare.
“I have a duty to protect our vulnerable people. I could not stand by and let the most vicious Tory attacks on some of the poorest in our city go unchallenged. These reforms are savage and could see up to a 10 year freeze on the Benefit Cap. This will affect our families – people with young children, people who are sick and people with disabilities - Children will be driven into poverty with the 'King Herod' clause. Parents would receive no benefits for a third or subsequent child unless the mother can prove she was raped. People with disabilities in the Work Related Activity Group, those with multiple sclerosis, people suffering from cancer having a third sliced off their benefits, parents of children of 2 years having to prove they are preparing for work and parents of 3 year olds actively having to seek work.
“The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that following the Budget 3 million families will be £1000 a year worse off and altogether 13 million families will be worse off. The Tories cut the top rate of tax and it is wrong to make the poorest in our country pay for it.
“Before making my decision I spoke to voluntary organisations, welfare advisers and other agencies about the impact these reforms would have on the people of York. When I was elected I promised to put the people I represent first and I was left with no other choice but to vote against the reforms.
“If we do not speak up for the poorest in our society, who will?”