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Atos will 'not receive early termination compensation'

A Department for Work and Pensions minister has said he is 'pleased' that Atos will receive no compensation after it ended its contract with the Government over controversial assessments of whether benefits claimants are fit to work.

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Minister "pleased that Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for early termination" #esa

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In fact, Atos has made a "substantial financial settlement" to the #DWP, says Disabled Minister Mike Penning #ESA

Read more: Atos ends controversial fit-to-work tests contract

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520 MPs vote for welfare spending cap

MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the government's plans to cap welfare spending at £119.5 billion.

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520 MPs backed government's welfare cap of £119.5bn. 22 MPs did not

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The Labour "rebellion" on welfare cap was less than two dozen. We will get the names shortly but this isn't big upset for Miliband: 520 v 22

Read: How the government's welfare cap will work

Welfare cap 'targets poor, sick and disabled'

The head of Citizens Advice, a major charity advising people on benefits, has warned the Government's Welfare Cap may push vulnerable people further into poverty.

Capping only the few benefits selected by ministers means it will be the poor, sick and disabled who face having their support cut.

The priority should be tackling the drivers of high welfare spending, like the dire lack of affordable homes, which increases house and rent prices and ramps up the cost of Housing Benefit. A guide on a limit to the cost of welfare is sensible, but leaving out large areas of spending is a mistake.

A cap which deliberately targets support for the working poor and has little room for manoeuvre could put even greater pressure on low income families

– Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice

Read: MPs to vote on £120bn annual welfare spending cap

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Abbott: Welfare cap 'will encourage arbitrary cuts'

Former leadership contender Diane Abbott is set to be among the MPs planning to defy the Labour whips when the vote is called this afternoon.

Ms Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) said she would not support the cap because it was the wrong thing to do.

She said:

Everyone wants the welfare bill to come down because spending on welfare is the price of failure.

However, we think this cap will just encourage arbitrary cuts rather than long term policies because that will bring down welfare spending.

We know, because of research by the Chartered Institute of Housing, when they did four pilots of the cap, in Haringey only 10% of households were known to have found jobs and 50% had to get more money from the council.

It's also part of the narrative to demonise benefit claimants. I don't think we should allow George Osborne to play politics with this issue, because it is people's lives.

Asked if Labour backing the plan would open the Opposition to the same charge, Ms Abbott said: "I think there is a danger it would be seen as playing politics."

Miliband faces Labour rebellion on welfare cap vote

Ed Miliband has vowed to support the Government's plans for a welfare cap. Credit: PA

Ed Miliband faces a rebellion of Labour MPs today and claims he is "playing politics" as the Government moves to write into law a cap on overall welfare spending.

The Labour leader has ordered his MPs to back the plans, which would cap welfare spending at £119.5 billion in 2015/16, in the Commons lobbies but it is thought 20 to 40 of his MPs could vote no.

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