Gordon Brown has attacked the UK Government for making a “completely unacceptable” cut to Universal Credit.
The Tories will this month end the £20-a-week uplift to the benefit which was introduced at the height of the first coronavirus lockdown last year – despite several high-profile party members urging Boris Johnson it must be kept.
Numerous charities and anti-poverty campaigners have warned that removing the uplift will plunge hundreds of thousands of people across the UK into poverty.
The former prime minister today claimed appeared to be a divide between “small state” and “one nation” Conservatives on how to deal with issues such as funding the NHS and improving care for the elderly.
It comes amid reports that senior Tories are up in arms about proposals to raise National Insurance contributions as a way of injecting more cash into the UK’s struggling care sector.
Brown said: “The health service has got to be funded. We’ve got to get out of this pandemic by making sure that children are not in poverty.
“That’s why the cut in Universal Credit in a few weeks’ time is completely unacceptable, that puts six million families further into poverty.
“So, the Government’s got to resolve this conflict, which didn’t exist 20 years ago, that clearly exists in this Government between small state conservatives and one nation conservatives.”
In an interview with Sky News, Brown was also asked if he would consider raising national insurance contributions if he were prime minister today.
Boris Johnson’s Government is expected to announce a rise in national insurance contributions in order to pay for social care.
Brown said: “We did the national insurance rise in 2002/3 and that paid for the health service to expand massively.
“I think 100,000 more nurses and 30,000 more doctors.
“I always said you’d have to come back to this 10 years on because you’ve got rising population pressures, rising elderly, technology is costing more – and of course the pandemic.”
He added: “National insurance must be one of the issues under consideration. But you’ve got to be thinking ‘how can we pay for this over the long term?’”
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