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In the last few days, the Government held a Debate on the annual Social Security Benefits Up-Rating Order.

Leading for the Conservatives in this Debate, Eastbourne and Willingdon MP and Shadow Pensions Minister Nigel Waterson said:

“We naturally welcome any benefits up–rating so far as it goes and no matter how unfairly distributed.  However, this uprating is shot through with some deeply cynical decisions. For example, we are concerned that hundreds of thousands if not millions of pensioners will be worse off as a result of the freezing of additional payments attached to many state pensions”

“Another example is that the Government announced a 1.5 per cent increase in child benefit, disability living allowance, carers allowance and incapacity benefit. However, as no funds will be provided next year, that amounts to a crude pre-election bribe for one year only, followed by a real terms cut.”

“However, despite our criticisms and misgivings, we did vote for the Order. To do otherwise would have risked depriving thousands of the most vulnerable of my constituents - pensioners, people with disabilities, struggling families, of the extra help that they need and deserve.”

Yet the Liberal Democrats did vote against this Order. The effect would have been to freeze all benefits across the board.

Commenting on this Nigel said “This was a very bizarre decision by the Liberal Democrats, which was at best absurd posturing, and at worst a cynical attempt to deny help to the most vulnerable in Eastbourne and Willingdon.”

16 March 2010