Follow the Guardian's live blog on the welfare reform bill. This proposed legislation, hailed by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, as "the biggest welfare reform since 1945" has entered a crucial period in its passage through Westminster. At issue is a series of often controversial proposals aimed at reducing public spending
The key areas of the bill are:
• The introduction of Universal Credit, which rolls up a series of existing benefits allowances and tax credits into a single payment.
• The introduction of Personal Independence Payments in place of the current Disability Living Allowance.
• Reducing housing benefit entitlement for social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need (the so-called "under-occupation" clause).
• The uprating of Local Housing Allowance rates by the Consumer Price Index, rather than local rent levels.
• The abolition of the Social Fund, which provides crisis loans to vulnerable people.
• The limiting of the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to a 12-month period.
• A cap on the total amount of benefit that can be claimed by a household to £26,000.
The House of Commons Library has published a detailed briefing on the bill, here and a separate paper on universal credit here. You can read the latest version of bill here, together with explanatory notes here.
The Hansard page charting the progress of the bill is here.
We want you to be active participants part of this live blog: please leave comments and suggestions in the comment thread below, or tweet us at #wrbliveblog @patrickjbutler and @lauraoliver.
In his comment for tomorrow's Society pages the points out that the Lords will consider three important issues tomorrow alone: the time limiting of Employment and Support allowance (ESA); the issue of whether disabled children enter adulthood with little chance of working should qualify automatically for ESA; and the scrapping of the social fund.
He points out that the Lords are the last barrier protecting impoverished and disabled people from the battery of financial blows contained in the bill. On ESA time limiting Tom writes:
Even for those who pass the eye-watering stringent medical test, money will be cut off cold after a year. Only those sick people who have no spouse or a workless one will pass the means-test for continuing cash – if you are married to a full-time shelf-stacker you will be deemed not to require any income at all in your own right.
So far, controversy has centred on cancer victims, but there are all sorts of permanent and degenerative diseases that preclude people from earning a wage. They ought to be able to count on a measure of compensation. They will not be able to rely on that unless the time limit is scrapped.