Cameron has hailed "an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years" after the Government's controversial reforms cleared Parliament. Peers ended their stand-off with the House of Commons, paving the way for the Welfare Reform Bill to reach the statute book. The legislation brings in a £26,000-a-year household benefits cap and sets up the universal credit.
Cameron said: "These reforms will change lives for the better, giving people the help they need, while backing individual responsibility so that they can escape poverty, not be trapped in it. Past governments have talked about reform, while watching the benefits bill sky-rocket and generations languish on the dole and dependency.
“This Government is delivering it. Our new law will mark the end of the culture that said a life on benefits was an acceptable alternative to work. Today marks an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years. My Government has taken bold action to make work pay, while protecting the vulnerable."
The Bill had a stormy passage through the Lords, with peers inflicting seven defeats on the Government when the legislation was first considered and a further one after MPs had overturned all the setbacks. However, independent crossbencher Lord Best withdrew, without a vote, an amendment on the final point of dispute between the Houses, the so-called bedroom tax which penalises council tenants for under-occupancy, and the Bill will now be sent for Royal Assent.
Cameron said: "While we've been putting in place a sensible, modern welfare system that protects the vulnerable, our opponents have shown they are on the side of Britain's something-for-nothing culture. We've stood up against the abuse that left taxpayers footing the bills for people on £30,000 or even £50,000 a year in benefits. It's a fair principle: a family out of work on benefits shouldn't be paid more than the average family in work."
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, responding to Mr Cameron's comments, said: "Everyone in Britain believes in sensible welfare reform - and there are ideas in this Bill, like Universal Credit, that build on Labour's tax credits which, for the first time, helped make sure work paid. But, sadly, this new law will hurt millions of families trying to do the right thing and work and save and it crosses a line of basic British decency."