George gathers supporters to rebel cause
Local MP Andrew George carried through his previous threat to vote against the Government’s Welfare Bill in Parliament on Monday night.
In doing so he gathered supporters from his Liberal Democrat benches – 9 Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the Bill, 2 refused to support the Government (abstained) and 3 MPs who were absent would have voted against had they been present.
He also expressed frustration that oppositional tactics by the Labour party meant that his amendment to improve the Bill was not put to the vote. This avoided an embarrassment for Labour, because they were not prepared to support Mr George’s call to protect benefit recipients by linking future up-rating with average wages.
Mr George said, “This risks leaving some of the poorest working and non-working households in dire circumstances. I believe that there could be less painful ways of helping the Government achieve its deficit-reduction programme. Two-fifths of benefits are paid to those with above average incomes. There could be savings there.”
Mr George also highlighted the case of a former constituent who had contacted him that day to point out that although he was now living on a Greek island he was still entitled to winter fuel allowance which it took him two winters to spend.