Tory MPs urged to back pause on benefit rollout

Conservative MPs will be urged to back Labour's call to pause the rollout of universal credit
Conservative MPs will be urged to back Labour's call to pause the rollout of universal credit
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THE loyalty of Conservative backbenchers will be tested today as Labour urges them to support efforts to block the further rollout of universal credit.

Labour will put a Commons motion forward calling for universal credit to be paused.

Last month, 12 Conservative MPs wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke expresssing concern about the impact the major chance to benefits is having.

But Mr Gauke has repeatedly insisted the rollout will continue and safeguards are in place to protect claimants who experience problems.

Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The Government has so far not listened to MPs’ concerns about the mounting issues with their flagship social security programme.

“We must stand together to make our voices heard.

“I urge Conservative MPs to vote with their conscience and support our motion to pause the roll out of universal credit.

“The social security system is meant to protect people from debt and arrears, not exacerbate their situation.

“We must pause and fix universal credit now, before millions are made worse off.”

Universal credit is the Government’s flagship reform of benefits designed to bring several different payments into a single system.

After a cautious start, the Government has been accelerating the rollout of the change but MPs have expressed concern that claimants are having to wait long periods for their payments.

Conservative backbencher Heidi Allen, one of the most vocal critics of the changes on the Government’s own benches, has urged the Department of Work and Pensions to review the minimum six-week wait for claimants to receive their first payment.

Mr Gauke has repeatedly argued that advanced payments can be made to claimants facing problems.