A few constituents have contacted me to ask which way I voted on the proposals to cap overall welfare spending. I know that some constituents have concerns about this issue, so I want to take this opportunity to clarify exactly what the cap means.
It is not a cap on the amount of support any individual or household can receive – this policy was introduced by the Tories in 2012 and Labour opposed it. Nor will the cap involve any additional welfare cuts. Instead, the cap places a limit on the total amount that the Government can spend on social security.
I feel very strongly that no individual or family should be denied state support if they need it, and this would not happen under the cap. I voted for the cap to make sure that our welfare system remains affordable so we can continue to provide a safety net for those who need it in an age where there is less money to go around.
Where Labour differs from the Coalition is that we recognise that the best way to keep welfare spending low is not to make drastic cuts of the kind we have seen under David Cameron, but to deal with the root causes of welfare spending – things like low pay and rising housing costs that increase demand for state support. Labour has committed to scrapping the Bedroom Tax, tackling unemployment through our Jobs Guarantee and properly enforcing minimum wage laws. These measures will make people on low incomes better off and so bring down the benefits bill, making our social security system fairer for claimants and taxpayers.
I hope this is helpful, and explains why I voted for the cap.