Amber Rudd slams emergency brake on Government’s Universal Credits benefit overhaul for a year to make sure it works

AMBER Rudd is pausing the Government’s flagship Universal Credits (UC) benefit system by a year –to make sure it works.

The Work and Pensions Secretary yesterday confirmed she was scrapping plans to seek MPs’ approval to switch 3million claimants on to the new system this week – amid fears she could lose.

PA:Press Association

Amber Rudd has paused the Government’s Universal Credits benefit overhaul[/caption]

The Commons will instead be asked to rubber stamp a trial of 10,000 people.

Insiders said the plan was to monitor the way the ‘migration’ works and iron out any issues before starting to switch the 3million over at the start of 2020.

The move comes after The Sun launched a Make Universal Credit Work campaign – demanding urgent changes to the programme, which wraps six existing benefits into an new all-in-one payment.

Campaigners have warned UC has fuelled debt as Brits wait for payments to clear, homelessness and the use of food banks.

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The Sun’s campaign demanded changes to stop the rollout fuelling homelessness[/caption]

Taking to Twitter after reports emerged yesterday, Ms Rudd insisted UC would be fully rolled out by 2023 as planned.

But she said: “UC is a vital reform so I want to roll it out carefully. I’m glad charities and colleagues are backing my plans to move and monitor 10,000 people from the old system.

“It means UC can proceed on time and be fit for purpose – helping people work and getting support to people quickly.”

The move – which follows the resignation of ex-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey in November – was welcomed by charities and Labour campaigners yesterday.

PA:Press Association

Labour’s Margaret Greenwood hopes the Government realises the implications of ‘managed migration’[/caption]

And it was immediately backed by Theresa May – who insisted it was always the Government’s plan that the scheme would change as it was implemented. Supporters claim UC is better than legacy benefits systems as it encourages people back into work by ‘tapering’ payments.

One ally of Ms Rudd yesterday said: “This is about taking charge of the issue –and stamping our authority on it.” But Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood yesterday demanded the Government halt the roll out of UC altogether.

She said: “Hopefully the Government is waking up to the devastating implications of its so-called ‘managed migration’.”

Frank Field, the chairman of the Commons’ Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: “The government seems to have finally woken up to the human catastrophe that was waiting to happen under its ill-formed plans.”


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