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Govt suffers defeat in Welfare Bill

Govt suffers defeat in Welfare Bill
The Government has suffered a major setback as peers voted to approve an amendment put forward by Bishops to remove child benefit from the Welfare Reform Bill.

Members of the House of Lords voted 257 to 232 to scrap the change proposed by ministers shortly after they voted to reject an amendment put forward by Labour to exempt people considered at risk of homelessness from the cap.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said it is "disappointed" by the move which it says "flies in the face of public opinion", and will take the Bill back to the House of Commons.

The Rt. Reverend John Packer, who tabled the amendment, said that he hoped the Government would listen to the message from the House of Lords, and that child benefit "has always been crucial to the whole way in which children are brought up in this country."

Liam Byrne earlier announced that Labour would back the amendment to strip child benefit from the Government's benefit cap.

An impact assessment on the cap, published this morning, revealed that 220,000 children will be affected by the changes out of around 67,000 households - a revision from the 50,000 figure originally cited by ministers.

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