May fac­ing a univer­sal credit re­bel­lion from 27 Tories

The Sunday Telegraph - - Politics - By Ed­ward Mal­nick and Charles Hy­mas

THERESA MAY was fac­ing a grow­ing re­bel­lion over univer­sal credit last night as 27 Tory MPs signed up to a cam­paign urg­ing her to de­liver a cash boost to pre­vent fam­i­lies from be­ing “sig­nif­i­cantly out of pocket”.

In a let­ter to Philip Ham­mond, the Chan­cel­lor, the back­benchers in­sist the wel­fare scheme needs an ex­tra £2bil­lion to £3bil­lion to help work­ing fam­i­lies who are cur­rently ex­pected to be “worse off ” as a re­sult of a cut made by George Os­borne in 2015.

The MPs, led by Heidi Allen, a Con­ser­va­tive mem­ber of the Com­mons work and pen­sions com­mit­tee, sug­gested that the work al­lowances stripped back by Mr Os­borne should be “at the heart of Con­ser­va­tive pol­icy”.

They re­peat an ad­mis­sion Es­ther McVey, the Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary, is said to have made to Cabi­net min­is­ters, that many claimants could lose as much as £200 a month as univer­sal credit is rolled out.

Sep­a­rately Iain Dun­can Smith, the for­mer Tory leader, is lead­ing a cross­party group threat­en­ing to amend Bud­get leg­is­la­tion un­less Mr Ham­mond uses this month’s Bud­get to in­clude the promised cut in the max­i­mum bets on fixed odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals (FOBT) from £100 to £2, The Sun­day Tele­graph can dis­close. The Trea­sury had wanted to de­lay it un­til 2020.

In the let­ter on univer­sal credit, which was still gath­er­ing sig­na­tures last night, the MPs warn: “As it stands 3.2 mil­lion work­ing fam­i­lies are ex­pected to be worse off, with an av­er­age loss of £48 a week.” They add: “En­abling hard-work­ing par­ents to keep more of what they earn and thus en­cour­ag­ing them to take up more work is at the heart of Con­ser­va­tive pol­icy.”

The Govern­ment has in­sisted that univer­sal credit was “based on the prin­ci­ples that work should al­ways pay and those who need sup­port re­ceive it”.

Mean­while, writ­ing for tele­graph. co.uk, Steve Bar­clay, the health min­is­ter, promised that the £20bil­lion cash in­jec­tion pledged by Mrs May for the NHS “will not be wasted.” His in­ter­ven­tion fol­lows a warn­ing by Lord Carter of Coles, the NHS ef­fi­ciency tsar, that the ex­tra fund­ing “risks be­ing wasted un­less it is used to im­prove ef­fi­ciency”.

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