Tories 'planning major Budget U-turn' on Universal Credit
The Government is reportedly preparing for a major U-turn on the controversial Universal Credit system at the Budget next month.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond is expected to announce that the waiting time for the first payment under the new benefits system will be reduced from six to four weeks, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
It comes after a concerted campaign from across the political divide that included prominent figures like former prime minister John Major and the architect of Universal Credit, Iain Duncan Smith.
The paper adds that the Government has already decided to cut the delay by seven days but is working to further reduce it.
Labour Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field said: "Tory MPs have said that they are expectant that it will be in the Budget.
"If I was the Government that's certainly the sensible thing to do."
The Government has already scrapped charges to the Universal Credit phone hotline after Jeremy Corbyn urged the Prime Minister to “show some humanity”.
But there are further concerns with the system bubbling to the surface, with a report in the Sunday Times today that some farmers and agriculture workers face losing thousands of pounds under Universal Credit.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is reportedly lobbying Mr Hammond to announce an increase in nurses’ pay in the Budget.