Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Passion and Precision

There is an art in an opposition MP using the nooks and crannies of parliamentary procedure to seek to alter practices by the Coalition Government and its officials which are socially harmful.

My local Labour MP Natascha Engel (see photo) led a Westminster Hall debate on 27 October which had exactly this intent. She spoke with passion, understanding and precision.

Her topic was the future of work capacity assessments. These were brought in on April 2010 by the previous government to assess the work capability of people who are long-term claimants of incapacity benefit. However she raised concerns that their increasing use was solely to "bring down the welfare bill" and urged the government to see "people not the benefit". A video of the full half hour debate can be found here.

On this matter Natascha has worked closely with the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centres, who are chaired and supported by Graham Baxter who was the subject of this earlier item I posted.

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