Give Universal Credit £2bn, say Tories

Daily Mail - - EUGENIE’S MAGICAL DAY - By Daniel Martin Pol­icy Ed­i­tor

TORY MPs are putting pres­sure on Philip Ham­mond to spend money to sal­vage the Gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship wel­fare re­forms.

Iain Dun­can Smith, the ar­chi­tect of Universal Credit, has urged the Chan­cel­lor to use this month’s Bud­get to plough £2bil­lion into the be­lea­guered sys­tem.

Yes­ter­day he was sup­ported by Con­ser­va­tive back­benchers, who said the party should be do­ing more to cut the cost of liv­ing for the poor­est in so­ci­ety.

But speak­ing in Bali yes­ter­day, Mr Ham­mond poured cold wa­ter on the idea. He said he would only con­sider ad hoc help to ben­e­fits claimants while the Universal Credit sys­tem is bed­ding in. Universal Credit, which re­places a range of hand­outs such as hous­ing ben­e­fit and job­seeker’s al­lowance, is de­signed to make work pay by en­sur­ing re­cip­i­ents do not lose all their ben­e­fits if they take a job.

Mr Dun­can Smith re­signed in 2016 af­ter Ge­orge Os­borne slashed £2bil­lion of fund­ing from the scheme.

Tory MP Robert Hal­fon said: ‘I believe in the re­form but it needs to go back to 2015 lev­els in terms of the al­lowance. It is sup­posed to be about get­ting peo­ple into work, but the re­form is hit­ting sin­gle peo­ple in my con­stituency as they can’t do a lot of ex­tra hours. I have al­ways sup­ported lower taxes for lower earn­ers.’

Fel­low Tory Johnny Mer­cer said: ‘It’s a good pol­icy but it’s got to be funded cor­rectly. When you look at in­creas­ing the thresh­olds of in­come tax, most of that is go­ing to­ward the top in­come earn­ers.’

Sir John Ma­jor has said the way Universal Credit is be­ing in­tro­duced could cause the Tories the same sorts of prob­lems as the poll tax. But Mr Os­borne said there was not enough money to in­crease spend­ing on the scheme.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.