PMQs: Miliband doesn't let go over cancer patient support

Ed Miliband was under pressure to perform following a turbulent week
Photo: Parliament. Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

By Phil Scullion

Ed Miliband sought to bounce back at prime minister's questions by attacking David Cameron on welfare support for cancer patients.

The leader of the opposition, who was quoting Macmillan Cancer Support, said that the proposed welfare bill will make 7,000 cancer patients £94 worse off each week.

The prime minister responded by accusing Mr Miliband of having his facts wrong and attempting to use the attack as a "smokescreen" to hide Labour's opposition to welfare reform.

In an energetic exchange Mr Miliband accused the prime minister of not knowing what was in his own bill. He used all of his questions to repeatedly reinforce this point.

He said: "These are people who've worked hard all their lives, have done the right thing, who've paid their taxes and when they are in need the prime minister is taking money away from them."

The government's plans to stop contributory support allowance for those in work-related activity after one year would punish people for not recovering quickly enough, he continued.

However Mr Cameron denied that this was the case.

"We are using exactly the same definition of people who are suffering and are terminally ill as the last government," he said.

"Crucially, anyone out of work who has longer to live will be given the extra support that comes from employment support allowance, irrespective of a person's income or assets. That will last for 12 months.

"On a means-tested basis this additional support can last indefinitely."

Responding to the exchange in the Commons the Labour party pointed out minister Chris Grayling saying that the issue at stake was not related to terminally ill patients.

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