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TUC slams government attack on welfare 'safety net'

THE TUC warned yesterday that the fallout from the government’s attack on welfare was hurting millions of people.

Following revelations of officials screwing up their benefits shake-up, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the reports “smack not only of incompetence but of a systematic attempt to remove the safety net people depend upon when they fall on hard times.

“Taking money away from the most vulnerable in our society is not the way to make work pay.”

Her broadside followed a damning report by MPs on the personal independence payment, which replaced the disability living allowance last year.

The “fiasco” saw people, including some with terminal illnesses, being left without vital payouts as officials took months to make decisions on their cases.

And the government was yesterday forced to deny that it risks breaching its self-imposed cap on welfare spending due to the rising cost of disability benefits.

Internal government memos obtained by the BBC reportedly state that the employment and support allowance (ESA) is “one of the largest fiscal risks currently facing the government,” leaving it “vulnerable to a breach” of the cap, which is set at £119.5 billion for 2015-16.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman claimed the figures represent “spurious scenarios.”

But MP Ann Begg said it showed Tory ministers “believed their own rhetoric” about large numbers of disabled claimants being fit for work.


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