Charities fight Government plans to reform benefits system

Macmillan Cancer Support has vowed to step up efforts to lobby the Government against plans to reform the benefits system

Sufferers: Macmillan claims the Welfare Reform Bill will leave cancer patients worse off
Sufferers: Macmillan claims the Welfare Reform Bill will leave cancer patients worse off

The charity brought together an unprecedented alliance of 30 cancer charities to challenge the coalition’s Welfare Reform Bill last week, which it claims will leave tens of thousands of people with cancer worse off.

The alliance is being led by Macmillan’s comms unit, which gained the front page of The Guardian on 9 March with
a letter urging Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to rethink the plans.

Macmillan PR manager Anna Brosnan explained the move: ‘One charity speaking up can put pressure on the Government, but getting so many to shout about one issue means it can’t ignore us.

‘The impact of the Welfare Reform Bill on cancer patients is hugely worrying and is something Macmillan will keep on fighting for until the Bill is through. We will continue putting pressure on the Government to ensure welfare reform is fair.’

Macmillan is continuing to lobby on this issue on its own, while collaborating with other cancer charities ‘as and when it needs to put greater pressure on the Government’.

‘As the Bill moves into committee stage, we will be focusing our efforts on those MPs who are on the committee, as well as keeping up pressure and highlighting the issues in the press,’ added Brosnan.

Previously, Macmillan had focused its lobbying on the Department for Work and Pensions, and briefed parliamentarians to speak up about the charity’s concerns.

The Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons by 308 votes to 20. A Labour motion that criticised much of the Bill and called for fuller consultation was defeated by 317 votes to 244.

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