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by Josh May
28 October 2016
Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith calls for cuts to Universal Credit to be reversed

Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith calls for cuts to Universal Credit to be reversed

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith - Image credit: Paul Heartfield

Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has called on Theresa May to reverse the £3.4bn cuts to Universal Credit that he waved through. 

The one-time Conservative leader said cancelling the cuts to the “work allowance” element of the benefit would support the cohort of the population identified by the Prime Minister as her priority, those who are “just about managing”.

The reductions would leave three million people up to £1,000 worse off, claimed the Centre for Social Justice, which Duncan Smith chairs.


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George Osborne announced in 2015 cuts worth £3.4bn a year to the Universal Credit bill, as part of a now-abandoned Tory manifesto pledge to reduce welfare spending by £12bn a year.

Iain Duncan Smith is urging Philip Hammond, Osborne’s successor as chancellor, to announce the change in policy in next month’s autumn statement.

He suggested cancelling planned increases in the minimum income tax threshold to pay for the measure.

The Conservative MP said: “Most people on benefits want to work. They want a regular routine, an interaction with a community outside the home, a stake in society and a sense of purpose.

"Work gives this to them - and it is crucial that we make sure people are always better off because they are in work.

“Every penny invested in Universal Credit will go to low-paid workers, yet this is true of just 25 pence of every £1 invested in the income tax personal allowance.

"Investing in Universal Credit is a far better way of supporting those who need it most.

“This is why we must restore Universal Credit’s original budget, and help those who are just about managing to properly provide for themselves and their families.”

Duncan Smith quit his role at the Department for Work and Pensions in March this year with an explosive attack on the former chancellor George Osborne.

He said he was tired of being forced to “salami-slice” the DWP’s spending to meet fiscal policies that were “distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest”.

The day after the July 2015 budget containing the cuts to Universal Credit, Duncan Smith said Osborne was “in serious danger of coming to be seen as one of the great chancellors of this country”.

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