Urgent – e-mail Stephen Lloyd TODAY

CarerWatchers and others may like to e-mail Stephen Lloyd and other LibDems TODAY






A backbench Liberal Democrat MP will cast the crucial vote tomorrow when MPs get a chance to pass judgment on the coalition’s fraught housing benefit package.
Changes to the benefit have been criticised by many, including senior Lib Dem MPs who fear moves to lower rental support, or local housing allowance, too fast will make many families homeless.
The government had resisted attempts to bring the proposal to a vote in the Commons, pointing out that changes to benefits do not ordinarily require votes.
But after the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, and the shadow welfare spokesman, Douglas Alexander, tabled a motion contesting the measures, the government set up a special committee to pronounce on the policies.
Now the composition of the committee raises a slim possibility of a defeat. Its eight Conservatives and two Lib Dems gives the government a lead over the seven Labour MPs and one Ulster Unionist, Ian Paisley, expected to vote against. But Labour have been pinning their hopes on one of the two Lib Dems, Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, choosing to vote against.
But last night, Lloyd said he supported the “direction of travel in housing benefit changes” and would back the policy.
The other Lib Dem, Steve Webb, is bound by ministerial responsibility to support the package. Lloyd is under pressure from the opposition and charities who believe the vote to be the last opportunity to stop the policy.
A Labour source argued that senior Lib Dems such as Simon Hughes and Bob Russell who were concerned by the proposal had a chance to persuade Lloyd to force the government to reconsider. We’re not saying the whole thing should be called off – there are elements in the package we support – but the changes to the level of support for rent people will get, or the 30th percentile, will cause great churn and higher levels of homelessness. It’s a genuine opportunity for Lib Dems to show they know this.”
Labour’s courting of Lloyd comes after it emerged at the weekend that the party’s director of policy, Greg Beales, had written to members of the shadow cabinet banning them from using the word “coalition” to describe the government, because the term was too reasonable and failed to convey the government’s “ideological, rightwing agenda”. Instead they are to refer to the “Conservative-led government”, with Clegg unable to affect the direction of coalition policy.
Clegg will go to help campaigning in the Oldham East & Saddleworth byelection on Wednesday as he tries to ensure his party win the seat they missed out on at the last election by 104 votes and to disprove those who believe his decision to go into coalition with the Tories has meant he has so far chosen not to put himself central to a campaign that is turning into a straight fight between the Lib Dems and Labour.
The prime minister appears to be aware of the pressure on his coalition partners. It emerged over the weekend he had called off a planned campaigning stint in Oldham, appearing to want to give his coalition partners a clearer shot at winning the seat.
The byelection is a three-way fight. As the Lib Dem candidate was 104 votes short at the last election, a weak Conservative effort could benefit them. Clegg’s task is to ensure those who voted Lib Dem last time don’t switch to Labour.

Sample letter


Naomi Jacobs commented on Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)’s Wall post.
Naomi wrote “If anyone needs an example letter, my flu-addled brain churned this out: Dear Mr Lloyd, I am writing as a concerned disabled voter to ask you to vote against changes to Housing Benefit today. This change in Housing Benefit is going to have a disproportionate effect on disabled people. It is likely to lead to more and more disabled people living in extreme poverty, having to be housed in temporary/unsuitable accommodation, or forced into care homes. Already, there are disabled people having to live in exceptionally unsuitable accommodation, which negatively impacts upon their health, or which is not fully accessible to them. Others live in bed and breakfast accommodation or hostels where their basic needs cannot be met, for example because they cannot have independent living support there. This situation will only get worse and worse if this change to Housing Benefit is pushed through. Thousands more disabled people will end up in temporary or unsuitable accommodation, or be forced to move into care homes against their will. Others will end up on the street, where they will die. As someone who works in higher education, I very much appreciated your vote against the tuition fee rise. Can you show us the same bold support? We are more in need than most students. There are disabled people in this country who are in danger of death every day, with thousands unable to afford to turn on their heating, and others are trapped in their homes due to poverty. Others are being forced into care homes because of the closure of the ILF. Still more are terrified at the prospect of changes to Disability Living Allowance. We are in the front line of far more cuts than is proportionate. Please don’t abandon us to extreme poverty and homelessness. Stand up for your disabled constituents, of which you have many. Yours sincerely…”



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