14th October 2018 - Heidi Allen MP secures support for letter to the Chancellor

In an article in the Sunday Telegraph on 14th October, I detailed my plans to write to the Chancellor about Universal Credit and the support I have received from Conservative colleagues so far for my letter. The full text of the article is as follows.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Theresa May is facing a growing rebellion over the government's flagship welfare scheme as 27 Tory MPs signed up to a campaign urging her to deliver a cash boost to prevent families from being "significantly out of pocket".

In a letter to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, the backbenchers insist the scheme needs an extra £2 billion to £3 billion to help working families who are currently expected to be "worse off" as a result of a cut made by George Osborne in 2015.

 

The MPs, led by Heidi Allen, a Conservative member of the Commons work and pensions committee, suggested that the work allowances stripped back by Mr Osborne should be "at the heart of Conservative policy".

They repeat an admission Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, is said to have made to cabinet ministers, that many claimants could lose as much as £200 a month as universal credit is rolled out.

Separately Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, is leading a cross-party group threatening to trying to amend budget legislation unless Mr Hammond uses this month’s budget to include the government’s promised cut in the maximum bets on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

The Treasury had wanted to delay the move until 2020. In the letter on universal credit, which is still gathering signatures, the MPs warn: "We know, contrary to some media reports, many claimants will be better off under Universal Credit.

"However there are two groups who will be significantly out of pocket.

"Restoring the work allowances for single parent families and second earners in families with children to their pre 2015 intended levels, would significantly transform their lives.

"As it stands 3.2 million working families are expected to be worse off, with an average loss of £48 a week."

 

They add: "Enabling hard working parents to keep more of what they earn and thus encouraging them to take up more work is at the heart of Conservative policy. This measure would boost the incomes of 9.6 million low income parents and children."

The intervention follows a report in The Daily Telegraph on Friday disclosing that Mr Hammond was looking at scrapping a manifesto pledge to raise the personal allowance for income tax in order to put money from universal credit.

Mrs Allen said of the report: "I and many colleagues would back this. We need UC to be properly funded."

The Government has insisted that universal credit was "based on the sound principles that work should always pay and those who need support receive it.

"We are listening to concerns about achieving these principles, improving the benefit, and targeting support to the most vulnerable, including for around one million disabled people who will receive a higher award under universal credit," a spokesman said.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A copy of my letter to the Chancellor can be found below.

Attachments

Attachment Size
Universal Credit - Heidi Allen letter to the Chancellor 17.10.2018.pdf 473.75 KB