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GORDON BROWN warned today of poll tax-style riots and “chaos” if the government pushes ahead with its universal credit (UC) roll-out.
The former prime minister branded the welfare reforms a “harmful and hated” experiment.
His intervention followed Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s pledge that the party would cancel the scheme if elected.
According to reports, millions of families could be left up to £200 a month worse off when the new system is comes in next July.
In a speech at the University of Edinburgh, Mr Brown said universal credit would remove £3 billion from the social security budget on top of cuts to child tax credits and benefit.
He said: “For the first time that any of us can remember, the safety net is not now the welfare state but charity and the lifeline for families in need is not social security but foodbanks.”
As chancellor in the late 1990s, Mr Brown was responsible for slashing benefits for single parents – a policy that caused the first major parliamentary rebellion of the Blair government, with 47 Labour MPs voting against, including Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Mr McDonnell.
But Mr Brown is now warning child poverty is rising “inexorably” and is expected to hit five million in 2022.
“A return to poll tax-style chaos in a summer of discontent lies ahead,” he said.
“So I am calling today for the government to abandon the 2019 national roll-out of universal credit and end this harsh, harmful and hated experiment.”
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