LABOUR accused the government yesterday of having a “warped sense of priorities” after Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb pushed ahead with his universal credit scheme despite reports that the plans were flawed.
According to new research by the Resolution Foundation, 2.5 million working families would lose over £2,100 a year under the new welfare scheme.
But Mr Crabb insisted that universal credit (UC), which rolls seven different benefits into a single payment, was motivating jobseekers to find work.
Trumpeting the new scheme on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Frankly, under the old system you were just dumped on benefits. You got your cash payments week in, week out.
“Our vision of the welfare system is we want to see people moving through it and emerging on the other side fully economically independent.”
But figures collected by the think tank told a different story, with experts fearing that cuts to the welfare budget would severely affect Britain’s working families.
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaigner Debbie Jolly told the Star that the scheme had been flawed from the start because “millions were written off in failed systems since its inception.
“Now we’re starting to see more impacts … which include people left with no money for weeks on end, people needing to give up jobs or being dismissed due to an unworkable regime imposed by UC as well as big cuts in supplementary income.
“The system should have been scrapped long ago. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so seriously affecting ordinary people doing their best in a hostile economy. It needs to go now.”
Over 45,000 people have claimed UC so far, with more than 9,500 new claims made every week.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith said: “Only a Tory government with as warped a sense of priorities as this one could issue a statement lauding the rollout on the same day an independent expert report from the Resolution Foundation shows Tory cuts will completely undermine work incentives in the programme.
“The Tories should stop slapping themselves on the back for delivering cuts to working families right across the country and instead listen to Labour’s calls for an urgent U-turn.”