Andy Burnham’s take on the government’s Welfare Reform Bill debate last night, in which he ABSTAINED

Tonight I voted for a Labour motion to oppose the Tories’ Welfare Reform Bill.

It was a motion I had been calling for, because I have been clear all along – we cannot simply abstain on a Bill that will penalise working families and increase child poverty.

That’s why last week I took a stand against the Tories’ assault on working families, children and disabled people – and I make no apology for that.

The Tory tax-credit cuts I spoke out against will hit working families who are doing the right thing. They will actually discourage people from being in work.

Children will be hit particularly badly. Many of the measures in this Bill will have the effect of increasing child poverty.

And at the same time as David Cameron is penalising working families, he is choosing to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on an inheritance tax cut for the richest estates.

It speaks volumes about where his priorities really lie.

But whilst we may have lost the vote tonight, that doesn’t mean the battle has to be over.

Tonight I am firing the starting gun on Labour’s opposition to this Bill. If I am elected leader in September, I am determined that Labour will fight this regressive Bill word by word, line by line.

I am clear that if the Government do not make major changes to protect working families, children and the disabled, then, under my Leadership, Labour will oppose this Bill with everything we’ve got when it comes back before MPs later this year.

Andy

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