Local greens respond to local Labour MPs abstaining on welfare bill

23 July 2015

Waltham Forest  and Redbridge Green Party are very disappointed to discover that the four Labour MPs that represent our boroughs abstained on one of the cruellest Welfare Bills in living memory. This largely regressive Bill proposed cuts to Tax Credits, the lowering of the Benefit Cap at a time of ever-rising rents and the scrapping of Housing Benefit eligibility for young people between the ages of 18-21.

Popular Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy stated publicly that she would vote against the government’s welfare bill. She later defended her abstention by saying that because of policies such as an increase in apprenticeships which she supported, she couldn't entirely oppose the bill. By abstaining, Stella Creasy has sadly let down a lot of her constituents who will be affected by these measures.

John Cryer (Leyton & Wanstead) defended his abstention on the grounds that as chair of the parliamentary Labour Party, he had to stick with the leadership. Since Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn voted against the bill, this is not really a valid excuse.

Wes Streeting and Mike Gapes (Ilford North and Ilford South) have not stated the reasoning behind their abstentions.

The creation of the Welfare State was one of the Labour Party’s greatest achievements. Why, then, are so many Labour MPs taking a neutral position on its dismantling?

The way to lower Tax Credits is by pegging the living wage at £10 an hour. The way to cut the Housing Benefit bill is by capping rents in the private rented sector, building much-needed social housing and bringing the UK’s 600,000 empty properties back into use.

'The Green Party do want to see less spent on Welfare not because we do not care about the poor and vulnerable but because we want a more equal society where people do not need welfare. But we believe that this can only be done fairly by dealing with the root causes of why it is so high.