Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

'Us and them': Oldham MP blasts 1% benefit cap in Welfare Bill which could affect soldiers, nurses and teachers

'Us and them': Oldham MP blasts 1% benefit cap in Welfare Bill which could affect soldiers, nurses and teachers

By Andrew Bardsley

The government’s controversial Welfare Bill will create an ‘us and them’ culture, according to an Oldham MP.

Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, hit out at the bill - which caps benefit rises at 1% for the next three years - which was passed earlier this week in the House of Commons.

But Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Minister, told the Commons that in government Labour had wasted money “like drunks on a Friday night.”

Ms Abrahams said: “This Government’s policies are underpinned by their ideology and they’re determined to demonise people receiving benefits, create resentment in those not receiving benefits, and to create an ‘us and them’ culture.

“Seven million working households will lose an average of £165 a year as a result of this bill.

"But fortunately the British public are starting to see through this Government and the myths they are peddling.”

Research by the Children’s Society found that up to 40,000 soldiers, 300,000 nurses and 150,000 primary and nursery school teachers will lose as a result of the 1% figure.

For example a couple with two children, with the single earner being a primary school teacher earning £600 per week, will lose £424 a year by 2015.

She added: “The government says the 1% cap is about making savings and bringing the deficit down but, at the same time, they give tax breaks to the wealthiest in society. This shows the government’s true priorities.”

However Duncan Smith criticised the Labour Party’s record in government, and said his plans were based on the principles of “affordability, integrity and fairness.”

He said: “This Government inherited from the previous Government an unsustainable and costly system, and a welfare state that I believe delivered poor social outcomes, trapping people in dependency, as well as a poor deal for Britain’s taxpayers.”

Ms Abrahams’ intervention comes as two other Greater Manchester politicians, Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, and Councillor John Bell, leader of the Tameside Council Conservatives, clashed over the bill.

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Picture courtesy of Debbie Abrahams, with thanks.