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Tory DWP boss says she’s ‘entirely happy’ slashing Universal Credit for millions

Therese Coffey said she was content with the massive cut to 6million Brits, adding: ‘We made this decision earlier this year, the Chancellor announced it in the Budget’

Thérèse Coffey says she’s happy with Universal Credit changes

The Tory welfare chief today confirmed she is “entirely happy” with cutting 6million people’s benefits by £20 a week.

Therese Coffey confirmed she was content with the huge cut to Universal Credit, which campaigners will plunge half a million Brits into poverty after it kicks in between October 13 and November 12.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was confronted in a TV interview with the startling impact of the plans, which a government memo reportedly warned will lead to a surge in homelessness and food banks.

Her predecessor Iain Duncan Smith pushed through the Tories’ austerity-era benefit cuts for years before quitting in protest at them.

But asked today “are you entirely happy with this?”, Ms Coffey told Sky News: “Yes. We made this decision earlier this year, the Chancellor announced it in the Budget.

Therese Coffey confirmed she was content with the huge cut to Universal Credit


Sky News)

“And that’s why we’re building the update tot he plan for jobs to make sure as we see the end of the furlough scheme, the support that’s happened there, as we see the end of the other support schemes… that we accelerate our plan for jobs.”

She said the current £20-a-week uplift, which began in April 2020 due to Covid, was only a “temporary stopgap” – and is equal to just over two hours for an over-25 on the £8.91 minimum wage.

With 40% of Universal Credit claimants already in work, she insisted the government would focus on talking to people on low incomes about taking on more hours.

But her comments prompted fury – as the £86-a-month cut will slash an under-25’s standard allowance from £344 to £257 a month.

Shadow Child Poverty Secretary Wes Streeting tweeted: “ENTIRELY HAPPY?!

“Low paid workers in our country will lose £20 a week. Including the 10% increase in National Insurance they will lose c. £1,300 a year.

“For these working families, this will HURT. More children will end up in poverty. Yet Therese Coffey is ‘entirely happy’.”

Ending the current “uplift” is opposed by six former Tory welfare chiefs, charities, landlords, opposition MPs, unions, debt groups and mortgage lenders.

Yet Boris Johnson is pressing ahead, claiming he wants to focus on working people – despite the fact 40% of the 6million claimants already have a job.

Last week Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said there would be no reversal of the £20-a-week cut and the final decision has been made.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says it has still not produced a formal impact assessment of the cut.

But a government official told the Financial Times: “The internal modelling of ending the UC uplift is catastrophic.

“Homelessness and poverty are likely to rise, and food banks usage will soar. It could be the real disaster of the autumn.”

The £86 a month being cut from UC far outstrips the National Insurance rise Boris Johnson announced this week to fund social care.

By comparison, that rise in NI will cost £30k earners £255 a year, and less for lower earners.

But even that cut could lead to family breakdown, an internal assessment found.

Analysis by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – released after MPs had already approved the rise on Wednesday – said the impact would be “significant” on economic factors such as earnings, inflation and company profits.

It also warned: “There may be an impact on family formation, stability or breakdown as individuals, who are currently just about managing financially, will see their disposable income reduce.”

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