In The best kept secret in the Liberal Democrats I criticised Liberal Democrat peers for their lack of communication over welfare reforms:
Bizarre is perhaps the best word for it, though a little more polite than some that have passed through my mind in the last few days as, once again, the party has drawn a tight veil of secrecy around the concessions Liberal Democrat peers have been securing in the House of Lords over welfare reform…
The official party position is basically, “we’re not going to say anything about the successes we’ve had”…
Bizarre is perhaps the best word for it, though a little more polite than some that have passed through my mind in the last few days.
The silence has been broken in the report from the Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords to the Liberal Democrat spring conference. Here is that part of their report in full:
Mike German, Celia Thomas, Ben Stoneham, Archy Kirkwood, Claire Tyler and Dominic Addington took part in this Bill, with Sue Garden being on the Ministerial team. Lib Dem Peers have been instrumental in obtaining an explicit commitment that PIP (Personal Independent Payments which will replace Disability Living Allowance), will be continually monitored and reviewed to ensure the new process is working effectively and appropriately. Celia Thomas also won a significant concession to halve the time seriously disabled people will have to wait to be eligible for PIP from six months to three months. As a result of the conference motion passed in Birmingham last September on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Mike German tabled amendments at committee which the Government have responded to by introducing their own amendment to provide greater support for those with deteriorating conditions to ensure that they can re-qualify for the Support Group rate of ESA.
Given how much of the party’s efforts have been directed at getting the benefits cap modified (and given limited negotiating power that also therefore means prioritising the cap over efforts to secure other possible changes), it is rather odd that this basic fact behind the approach taken to amending the Bill isn’t laid out clearly.
So some communication – good. But not yet good enough to count as good communication.