contact MP Second Reading July 21st parents children age 3 look for work

If you are concerned by the proposals set out in the Budget requiring parents of children age 3 to look for work as a condition of receiving benefit from 2017 – including lone parents, parents of children with disabilities, and parents in low-income households on Tax Credits/Universal Credit where one parent is already in full time employment – then you can ask your MP to raise your concerns at the Second Reading of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on Tuesday July 21st.

(I blogged yesterday about when these measures are going to be introduced.)

July 21st is the last day before Parliament closes for business during the Summer. (Parliament opens again for 10 days in September but then is closed for Party conferences until October 12th.)

Second Reading is where MPs get the chance to make their points about the proposed measures. They won’t get another chance – unless they are on the Bill Committee – until Report stage They certainly won’t get another chance till after the annual Party conferences.

There is a very slight chance that the timing will change, so you need to keep an eye on the parliamentary calendar for forthcoming business

Immediately after the Second Reading there will usually be a Programme Motion which sets out the timetable for the passage of the Bill through Parliament. It won’t necessarily say when each stage will start but it will say how much parliamentary time is going to be allowed for the Bill Committee to go through the Bill line by line and also how much time will be allowed for debate at Report.

You can write and ask your MP to attend the debate on July 21st and make your points. You can say that you will be watching the debate on television and/or that you will read Hansard the following day. It would be ideal if you could also get to talk to your MP’s constituency caseworker.
I have set out MPs by local authority area here including a note on where the MP changed at the last election and who the previous MP was.

You can find out more about the constituency contact details here (Just put your postcode in the search box)

If you have never contacted your MP before, this is what you do:

  • Look at this site for information on writing to MPs (put your postcode in the search box)
  • Keep your email direct and personal
  • Keep your email short
  • Focus on a few key issues
  • Include a few key facts and signpost to where your MP can find more information (but bear in mind that MPs might not have time to open attachments or scroll through lengthy pdfs so you need to make the points yourself and not just say ‘this explains it much better than I can…’)
  • Maintain contact with your MP

NB the proposed measures are tied in to the new provision for 30 hours free childcare for 3-4 year olds which I will be blogging about shortly. 

The Bill Committee
After the Second Reading debate, the Bill passes to Committee stage and amendments are proposed and discussed before the revised Bill is brought back to the House of Commons. We may well not find out which MPs are on the Bill Committee until October unless there is a very quick announcement in Parliament reopens briefly (ie when ‘the House returns’) in September. Be ready to pounce with helpful briefings if your MP is on the Bill Committee!

The Bill Committee needs to get the clear message from the Second Reading debate exactly WHY specific measures in the Bill are very controversial. The Bill Committee will go through the Bill line by line and this is when amendments are put forward. The Government doesn’t ever have to agree to opposition amendments but the Bill Committee debates will reveal where the fault lines are in the proposed legislation and the Government may end up putting forward its own amendments, either in the Commons or when the Bill gets to the Lords.


11 thoughts on “contact MP Second Reading July 21st parents children age 3 look for work

  1. Jacqui Edwards

    I would like to write to my MP about this. Could you give me a few bullet points about why this is going to be an issue for so many families that I could include in my letter?


  2. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Hi, the Government has tied it into the alleged availability in a year or so of 30 hours free childcare for 3 year olds so there’s the issue of whether that’s realistic. Then there’s the question of whether cheap no-frills childcare is viable for children who have non-standard needs, eg could providers routinely cater for disabled children and children with SEN without making any extra charges. Already you get JobCentre staff saying to parents of 3 and 4 year olds ‘you can’t home educate because you’ll have to get a job when they reach school age’. Home educators who say ‘we save £x0,000 in school places’ for children age 5+ could I guess make that argument equally about free pre-school provision. It hinges on the childcare, that’s why I’m digging into that.


    1. Jacqui Edwards

      Thanks. I just don’t get how the government see this as a money saving exercise. Surely it must cost them less to pay a single parent £70 a week to stay at home and look after a child of 3 or 4 (and even more of a saving if the parent is home educating older children too) than to pay for 30 hours of childcare which would probably cost at least double this? OK they expect the parent to then be going out to work but working 16 hours at the minimum wage they won’t be paying taxes so it’s still costing more. Am I missing something here???


  3. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Part of it stems from wanting to cut back on tax credits top-up to people in paid work who could – so the theory goes – be working more hours or whose partner could get a job. If there were any jobs. Under Universal Credit there won’t be the 16 hours minimum like there is with Tax Credits. I don’t think people will actually GET the jobs, but I can see them having their benefit cut for ‘not meeting their claimant commitment.’ That’ll be a saving.


    1. Jacqui Edwards

      So, when writing to my MP about this issue rather than mentioning it either costing more to the government or of not actually saving anything at all should I focus on the rights/needs of young children to be looked after by their own parents? My MP is Edward Timpson the minister for children and families so you would think that this would be of particular interest/concern to him. No, wait I forgot, he’s a Tory MP so probably doesn’t give a s***t about the any of that.


  4. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    Instinctively I feel that the best way to appeal to a constituency MP is to explain the impact on a real live family. Especially if you’re writing to someone in the governing party, rather than the opposition and even MORE especially if you are writing to a Minister.


    1. Jacqui Edwards

      OK I’ve written to him let’s see what happens! Fiona do you know if at this second reading they will also be discussing the stopping of child tax credits after the second child from April 2017? Is it going to cover everything that was announced in the budget last week? If so I will write to my MP again asking for him to raise my concerns about this too.


  5. Pingback: 30 hours free childcare from 2017 | edyourself

  6. Pingback: how the benefit changes in the budget will become law | edyourself

  7. Pingback: email to my MP about changes to benefits for parents child age 1 to 3 | edyourself

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