STUC supports call to protect benefits for parents seeking work

January 23rd 2012

house of lords

As the House of Lords considers the Welfare Reform Bill today (Monday 23 January), the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) joins children’s charities, voluntary sector organizations, law centres, and others, in speaking up for claimants who face difficulties accessing the childcare they need to allow them to take up employment.

In an open letter to Lord Freud attached these organisations are calling on the House of Lords to support amendments which would remove the sanctions proposed by the Government.

Parents with a dependent child or children should not face sanctions if work has to be turned down because appropriate childcare is not available.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said

‘Childcare places in Scotland are already hard to find. Whilst parents are making every effort to stay in work, or to find work, lack of suitable childcare is placing families under great pressure. More families will be forced to bring their children up in poverty if the Government does not pull back from the sanctions proposed in this section of the Welfare Reform Bill’

ENDS For further information contact Ann Henderson 07875 208 167

Notes to editors

  1. Report Stage Welfare Reform Bill Day 5 in the House of Lords 3pm today

  2. Baroness Lister of Burtersett’s Amendments Nos. 62ZA and 62B, supported by Lord Archy Kirkwood and by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, are attached.

  3. The full letter to Lord Freud and list of signatories is attached. Lord Freud is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Welfare Reform) and Government Spokesperson, Department for Work and Pensions The amendments are supported by a wide range of agencies and organisations across the UK. These include children's charities and other voluntary organisations, churches, law centres and other advice agencies, campaign groups focusing on tackling poverty and inequality, the TUC and the STUC. The amendments are also supported by the Children's Commissioner for Northern Ireland, the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland, and by the Children's Commissioner for Wales.

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