May facing a universal credit rebellion from 27 Tories
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”.