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Changes to universal credit ‘feeble’

LABOUR condemned reforms to the disastrous universal credit scheme as “feeble” yesterday, arguing that the supposed improvements will only worsen the suffering of hard-up claimants.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke has announced a £1.5 billion package of measure to “improve” the scheme that has seen claimants fall into rent arrears and even evicted from their homes.

The measure includes an advance loans system which will allow 100 per cent of a payment to be available as an interest-free loan instead of 50 per cent, and repayable over 12 months instead of six. Claimants can access the loans from January.

However shadow chancellor John McDonnell pointed out in the Commons that households in financial hardship do not need more debt.

Despite evidence that universal credit is driving more people into poverty, the government decided to push on with the scheme’s roll-out in Wednesday’s budget.

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