The Welfare Reform Bill debate today was about a bill that will reform benefits and ensure they are paid to those who need help most.
I said: "Government Members are all aware that behind the Bill stands the financial destiny and future of millions of people. There is a great human aspect to this. Only today, I spoke to my constituent, Kelly Banks, whose son Ben is 12 years old and has a serious heart condition. The allowances that he receives are going to be taken away because he can walk to school-never mind the fact that it takes him half an hour, and by the time that he gets there, he is out of breath. Those hard and difficult decisions must be taken, and we must make sure that the right balance is struck to ensure that people who need help receive it, and that those who do not, do not do so.
That is a particular concern, because the figures show that disability living allowance has gone up by 30% in eight years. Housing benefit has gone up by 45% in the past five years. In the past 13 years, the benefits bill for working-age people has increased from £52 billion to £74 billion. Those are the numbers in the years of plenty, but we have inherited a catastrophic economic situation and difficult decisions must be made. The Bill seeks to strike a balance between, on the one hand, the nation's credit card having been maxed out and, on the other, the need to ensure that those who need help receive it. Most importantly, the universal credit will help people to be sure that work always pays.
We need to do more to crack down on fraud and error, which costs £5.2 billion in wasted benefits. We need to ensure that there is a proper cap on the number of people coming in to the country. We have 5 million people who could work, but do not do so, yet we all know that in the past few years 1.2 million people who were born overseas came and took jobs. We should do more to ensure that those 5 million people who could work but do not do so receive help, support and encouragement to get into work. We have to do the right thing by our own countrymen and our neighbours. It is time to reform. It is time to make work pay, and it is time to bring the benefits bill under control and ensure that there is fairness for those in need and those who are paying taxes."
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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