The Welfare Reform and Work Bill is currently in "ping pong"
between the Commons and Lords in pursuit of a version on which both
Houses can agree.
The Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords and
received its Third Reading on 9 February. The Lords made a number
of amendments to the Bill which were considered by the House of
Commons on 23 February. The House of Commons rejected some of the
Lords' amendments and in some cases proposed further amendments in
their place. The House of Lords considered this response on 29
February, and decided on further amendments in place of some of
those proposed by the House of Commons.
Consideration of the Lord's further amendments to the Bill took
place in the House of Commons on 2 March but the Commons disagreed
with the Lords in their amendments. The Bill will now return
to the Lords for debate on a date to be determined.
The Clauses of the Bill now in dispute are Clause 13 (Employment
& Support Allowance: work related activity component (and
Clause 14 (Universal Credit: limited capability for work element).
Essentially the Lords are seeking to amend the Bill to require the
Secretary of State to lay a report before Parliament giving his or
her estimate of the impact of the provisions on the physical &
mental health, financial situation, and ability to return to work
of persons who would otherwise be entitled to start claiming the
work related activity component of employment and support
In regard to proposals in the Bill for reductions in social
housing rents, at Report Stage in the House of Lords, the
government brought forward an amendment to Clause 28 of the Bill
intended to exclude service charges from the scope of the 1% rent
reductions. It was subsequently pointed out by some housing
associations and the HCA that the amendment would have failed to
exempt service charges which are treated as part of the rent by
some landlords for the purpose of enforcement in cases of
non-payment. The House of Commons therefore rejected the amendment
to Clause 28 and substituted another which delegates the drafting
of a satisfactory exemption to the Secretary of State through
regulations. This amendment was accepted by the House of