One law for senior Conservatives, another for the rest of us, storms Labour MP
TOP Tories are “putting off” the disastrous consequences of universal credit by quietly delaying it in their own constituencies, Labour has warned.
Prime Minister Theresa May, Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke and former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have excluded its roll-out in their seats for at least three months as part of changes quietly brought in following last week’s Budget, Labour MP Stephanie Peacock revealed.
The delay will cover most of Maidenhead, Ashford, South West Hertfordshire and Chingford, and Woodford Green.
Only the generally pro-Labour area of South Oxhey, a working class area in David Gauke’s constituency, will have universal credit (UC) imposed on time.
The London Borough of Waltham Forest, which serves Labour seats rather than Iain Duncan Smith’s seat, will also implement UC earlier.
The decision follows a government defeat in the Commons, where MPs unanimously voted for Labour’s motion to “pause and fix” the policy which is causing debt, poverty and increasing the threat of homelessness right before Christmas.
Elsewhere, UC will be rolled out between now and December 2018, without further parliamentary votes, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) documents show.
Ms Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, said: “Even while claiming everything is fine with the universal credit, top Tories have quietly delayed it in their own constituencies. It’s one law for them, another for the rest of us.
“The very people who dreamt up the whole idea and then made such a mess of it are now putting off the consequences in their own seats.
“If they want to pause and fix universal credit for themselves, they should do it across the whole country.”
Scotland’s children’s commissioner Bruce Adamson has said he may consider taking legal action over the universal credit roll-out if it further disadvantages young people.
He called for political leadership on the issue, warning that social welfare reforms could leave some children without a warm secure home and hot meals.
Mr Adamson said: “If children in Scotland aren’t getting those basic things then legal action may be the way to take this forward. But it’s not the best way.”
Citing the Human Rights Act, he said courts could look at whether the state fails to provide such basics.
“Poverty is the biggest human rights issue facing children in Scotland at the moment,” he said.