Thursday, 9 March 2017

Should Labour surrender its role as official opposition?

When it comes to holding to the Tories in Westminster to account it seems that Labour have virtually given up .
The Tories on going austerity program continues , and  although you might not see much reporting in the Media it becomes even more obvious this is about destroying the welfare state and is a matter of ideology rather than any fiscal intention.
The latest governmental plan is  to cut housing benefit to those under 21 from April 2017.

According to the Westminster  website
The measure was initially forecast to save £40m by 2020/21. In response to a PQ answered on 24 January 2017 the Minister said around 10,000 people would be affected, saving an estimated £95 million over the course of the current Parliament. On 7 March 2017 Caroline Nokes said that “in the region of £105 million” would be saved over the period of this Parliament.
ExemptionsThe Regulations specify the categories of young people who will be exempt from the removal of the housing costs element of Universal Credit. These exemptions include:  those who may not be able to return home to live with their parents; certain claimants who have been in work for 6 months prior to making a claim; and young people who are parents. Section 2 of the full report provides information on all the exemptions that will apply

SNP MP, Mhairi Black, has nailed the  question that summed up what the government are up to
 Speaking during an Urgent Question debate on withdrawing Housing Benefit from those under 21, Black asked:
Does the Minister agree that it is simply ridiculous that young people should suffer purely because the Government are obsessed with imposing austerity?
he Canary tells us that

MPs were asking urgent questions about the legislation brought in without debate under a Statutory Instrument. This also means that MPs are unlikely to overturn the decision. The last time this happened in the House of Commons was 1979.

Speaking about the cuts, Black stated:
The Government seem to be working on the incorrect assumption that young people can simply stay at home, when parents have no obligation to house their adult children.
As you can see above there are categories of exemptions such as for those at risk, parents, and orphans. But Black sought to clarify the numbers who would be affected:
Can she tell us how many young people will be affected who do not qualify for an exemption?
Black also raised the problems that young people who do not have stable accommodation might face:
Does she think that an unemployed young adult is more likely to get a job if they have a stable address, or if they are living in a hostel or sleeping on the streets?


Black further raised the question of how the issue will affect Scotland. She pointed out that the SNP is opposed to the legislation but it will be imposed on Scotland regardless:
The SNP has consistently opposed the withdrawal of housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds, but under the current powers of the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government cannot reverse the cut or provide an exemption for Scotland.
And she asked:
Will the UK Government exempt Scottish young people from the impact of the regulations and allow the Scottish Government to provide the housing support on their behalf?
Mhari Black’s questions  however were pretty much ignored by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Caroline Nokes.

Nokes failed to answer the part of the question regarding austerity. Nor did she comment on the number of young people affected by this legislation. Instead, she gave a vague and unhelpful answer regarding the Scottish question:
The Scottish Government already have a wide range of powers that would enable them to alleviate the proposed changes. Our Government are committed to working with the Scottish Government on a whole range of issues in the DWP portfolio, to make sure that they have the power and the strength to implement those powers.
Msy Black on her Facebook page: wrote
Yet more cuts that Scotland didn’t vote for and no real answers from the Minister.
Where is the Official Opposition on this ? How much longer can Labour be locked into its Civil War and its failure to have any strategy over Brexit

The SNP of which Mhari Black is a shinning example along with the Three Plaid MPs and the Greens Caroline Lucus seem to be the real opposition when it comes to holding this government to account .

Are Labour more interested in sabotaging Jeremy Corbyn leadership than opposing the continuing Government war on the poorest members of our society?

If the are not interested in being an effective opposition , then maybe they ask the speaker to knowledge where it really is and call on the SNP.Green.and Plaid alliance more often.


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