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Universal credit crisis caused by Tories’ £12bn of ‘salami-sliced benefit cuts’, says architect of policy

Universal credit has been fatally undermined by the Tories’ different brutal welfare cuts, an architect of the controversial shake-up warns at present, as calls for develop for a U-turn in Monday’s Budget.

Many of the distress induced is the inevitable knock-on from £12bn of “salami-sliced cuts”, together with the benefit freeze, the benefit cap, the “bedroom tax” and curbs to council tax assist, Deven Ghelani stated.

“You’ll be able to’t stability the books on the backs of the poorest individuals within the nation, if you will make a reform like common credit score work,” the previous Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) adviser advised The Unbiased.

The recent criticism of Conservative welfare cuts comes amid a blizzard of strain on the chancellor to behave on the disaster surrounding common credit score in Monday’s Price range:

* A Commons committee is asking for the extension of common credit score to be shelved till the DWP can present it is not going to push “yet another claimant over the sting”.

* Labour has printed 10 calls for for instant adjustments, together with slashing the 5 week look forward to funds, and an finish to sanctions and break up funds (to guard victims of home violence).

* The Kids’s Society is warning households will lose as much as £2,460 per 12 months and not using a rethink, together with 100,000 disabled youngsters who shall be as a lot as £147 a month worse off.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is predicted to announce some shift on common credit score after as many as 30 Conservative backbenchers threatened a revolt.

The rebels need round £2bn to guard the hardest-hit teams – single dad and mom and second earners in households – earlier than a rollout the Division for Work and Pensions has already delayed.

Nevertheless, the clamour for radical adjustments to common credit score now stretches far past the calls to reinstate the £2bn of cuts put in place by George Osborne again in 2016.

Immediately, the all-party Commons Work and Pensions Committee says a plan to place four million extra individuals on the profit should be halted with out adjustments to forestall “unmanageable” debt.

Claimants will begin transferring over from mid-2019, quite than January as supposed, however the transfer will “pile debt upon debt, trapping individuals in a downward spiral of debt and hardship”, the committee says.

Its report assaults the 5 week look forward to a primary fee, the requirement to pay again emergency advances and the DWP’s “aggressive strategy to accumulating money owed”.

Frank Field MP, the committee’s chairman, stated: “The DWP should not push yet another claimant onto common credit score till it might probably present that it’s going to not push them over the sting.”

Labour echoed the criticism, because it launched a 10 level plan which additionally consists of scrapping obligatory on-line claims, after it was revealed that one in three claims are deserted due to difficulties.

The social gathering additionally desires to provide tenants the proper to have their housing profit paid on to their landlord, following proof that some are falling into debt.

Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s work and pensions spokeswoman, stated: “Common credit score clearly isn’t working. As a substitute of serving to individuals it’s punishing the very individuals it ought to assist.

“Now we have set out 10 calls for on authorities to deal with the disaster. The chancellor ought to use this Price range to take instant motion and put an finish to the struggling.”

The federal government has repeatedly insisted that the £15.8bn shake-up, which squeezes six separate working advantages right into a single fee, is working properly.

However Mr Ghelani, who suggested Iain Duncan Smith on introducing common credit score at the beginning of the last decade, pointed to the huge different welfare cuts because the “greatest” trigger of the present issues.

“The core concern is the £12bn of salami-sliced cuts which suggests individuals on advantages are already underneath large monetary pressure, even earlier than they’re requested to handle the change onto common credit score,” he stated.

“There may be extra to come back within the years forward, when common credit score is already much less beneficiant than the profit system it replaces.

“On prime of that, the native organisations serving to to ship it are additionally underneath pressure so are much less in a position to assist claimants, and the DWP itself is having to implement it because it has to make large financial savings.”

Mr Ghelani, who now runs a welfare consultancy referred to as Coverage in Observe, insisted the shake-up may nonetheless be successful, even whether it is removed from “the promised land” envisaged.

However he added: “The issues with tax credit within the final decade, and with housing profit within the 1980s, had been solely solved by spending a lot of cash – you may’t do welfare reform on a budget.”

A DWP spokeswoman stated it had “already introduced a number of enhancements” to common credit score to make it work extra easily.

They included “plans to reinstate housing profit for weak 18 to 21-year-olds, providing 100 per cent advances and offering an extra two weeks of housing profit for claimants”.

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