22 January 2013

Cornwall’s three Libdem MPs split three ways

The Welfare Uprating bill was completed in the Commons yesterday. This increases some social security benefits and tax credits by 1 percent for the financial years 2014-16 which, given likely inflation, is a cut in real terms. The benefits and credits are listed in the schedule to the bill. The bill will affect several thousand people in Cornwall.

I looked at this in the post From him that hath not. Yesterday there were three votes on the bill. In the first, division 136 on a Labour amendment (amendment 12 here ) Andrew George did not vote, Dan Rogerson and Stephen Gilbert voted against the Labour amendment.

In the second, report stage division 137 effectively on the unamended bill with the 1 percent provisions, Andrew George voted against the government bill, Stephen Gilbert voted for the bill, and Dan Rogerson did not vote.

On the last, division 138, which was the third reading of the bill, Andrew George voted against the bill, Stephen Gilbert voted for it, and Dan Rogerson did not vote.

The three Tory MPs for Cornwall constituencies voted in all three divisions to support the government as did Gilbert.

The amendments of George and a handful of other Libdems to relate benefits to wage rises, and of Caroline Lucas, to relate benefits to rises in RPI prices, were not voted on. This was because of the timetable agreed on 8 January 2013 which Gilbert and Rogerson both voted for (Hansard 8 January 2013 column 280).

Unless an MP says he abstained or votes both for and against in the same division, it is not possible to discern whether he abstained or was absent for a vote. I have written “did not vote” to cover this unknown.

In answer to a parliamentary question about the effect on the income of disabled people of limiting rises in benefits to 1 percent, the government said: “The Department [DWP] estimates that approximately 34% of households where someone describes themselves disabled are affected by this Bill with an average change of income of around -£3 a week in 2015-16 compared to uprating by the consumer prices index (CPI). This represents around 3.4 million households in Great Britain.” Hansard 8 January 2013 column 470W