WATCH: Labour's John McDonnell urges Tory MPs to vote down Budget over Universal Credit
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has challenged Conservative MPs to vote down Monday's Budget if Philip Hammond does not use it to halt the rollout of Universal Credit.
The Labour frontbencher accused Mr Hammond of showing "callous complacency" over the welfare shake-up, and warned that the way the scheme had been introduced had forced clamaints to rely on food banks.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis today became the latest senior Tory to call on the Chancellor to reverse a 2015 decision to take billions out of the scheme - which aims to roll six existing benefits into one - amid warnings it is leaving claimants in severe hardship.
But Mr McDonnell blasted the welfare changes, and called on Conservative MPs with concerns about the scheme to go further and vote down the Autumn Budget on Monday in protest.
The Shadow Chancellor told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday: “I’m saying to other political parties that if he doesn’t halt the rollout of Universal Credit we’ve got to vote this Budget down.
“We’ve got to stop him forcing people into poverty in this way.”
Speaking on the same programme, the Chancellor admitted that there had been "problems" with the implementation of Universal Credit - and he hinted that more funding could be forthcoming in Monday's Budget.
He said: “There have been issues around transition from legacy benefits into Universal Credit.
“Many of the kind of problems you’re talking about occur when people move from one system to the other and there is a mismatch in the way the systems work.
“I have already put over £2bn into - over the last two Budgets - into smoothing that transition.
“We continue to look at how this process is working and if we find cliff edges and difficulties, frictions on the move from the old benefits system to Universal Credit of course we’ll always try to smooth those out and be pragmatic about this.”
The hint comes after 20 Tory MPs urged the Chancellor to funnel money back into the system and reduce the five-week wait period for those shifting to the benefit.
The statement, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, said: "Unless we make this transformative investment, 3.2 million working families are expected to be worse off."
They added: "We must review the 5-week initial wait for the most vulnerable. Expecting families with nothing, to wait for 5 weeks, does not fit with compassionate Conservative values."