Ben­e­fits wait may be eased

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

MIN­IS­TERS are ready to re­duce the wait­ing time for Uni­ver­sal Credit (UC) pay­ments from six weeks, fol­low­ing an out­cry from Tory MPs, rebel Tory MPs be­lieve.

One of those who threat­ened to rebel over the roll-out of the flag­ship ben­e­fit re­form, Stephen McPart­land, said he be­lieved the crit­ics were “very, very close to get­ting a res­o­lu­tion” on the is­sue.

Some have warned that as the roll-out of UC gath­ers pace, the six-week wait is con­tribut­ing to ris­ing debt, rent ar­rears and evic­tions.

Theresa May avoided a Tory re­volt on the is­sue in a House of Commons vote on Wed­nes­day af­ter mak­ing a con­ces­sion by com­mit­ting to scrap charges of up to 55p a minute to call a UC helpline, and or­der­ing her party to ab­stain on a non-bind­ing Labour mo­tion call­ing for the re­form to be paused.

Mr McPart­land said Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary David Gauke was find­ing it in­creas­ingly hard to jus­tify the sixweek wait.

The Steve­nage MP told BBC Ra­dio 4’s Week In West­min­ster: “I think we are very, very close to get­ting a res­o­lu­tion.”

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