Universal Credit uplift: Tice shuts down ‘nonsense’ plan
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Reform UK leader Richard Tice has clashed angrily with Conservative peer Ed Vaizey on TalkRADIO over the Government’s plans to push ahead with the widely-opposed cuts to Universal Credit payments. Mr Tice branded the move to phase out a £20-a-week UC uplift for claimants as “complete nonsense.” He added that the Government should not be looking to cut spending at a time when the national debt is manageable.
Ed Vaizey told BBC Politics Live: “The Government is putting £500 million, they announced it yesterday, into supporting the most vulnerable during the winter.
“And secondly, I don’t see how you can face both ways, on the one hand, say keep the Universal Credit uplift and on the second hand cut taxes in order to creat growth.
“To keep the Universal Credit uplift permanent you would have to raise taxes.”
“Nonsense!,” fired back Mr Tice.
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“That is complete nonsense because you know the Tories for whatever reason want to impose austerity mark 2.
“Actually the Government’s balance sheet is fine.
“We could accommodate this level of debt as long as you go for growth rather than trying to tax your way to unnecessarily repay debt that at the moment does not need repaying.”
It comes as the £20-a-week UC uplift, introduced to help claimants weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic, is being phased out from the end of September.
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The Government has launched a new £500 million scheme to help vulnerable households over winter.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation called the announcement of new funds an “11th hour attempt to save face as the Government presses ahead with an unprecedented overnight cut”, urging the PM and Chancellor to reverse the plans.
Deputy director Helen Barnard said: “The support available through this fund is provided on a discretionary basis to families facing emergency situations.
“It does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge facing millions families on low incomes as a cost-of-living crisis looms and our social security system is cut down to inadequate levels.
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“By admitting today that families will need to apply for emergency grants to meet the cost of basics like food and heating through winter, it’s clear the Chancellor knows the damage the cut to Universal Credit will cause.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said in the statement that the Government has “helped millions of people provide for their families” over the last year.
“Many are now back on their feet but we know that some may still need further support,” Ms Coffey said.
“Our targeted Household Support Fund is here to help those vulnerable households with essential costs as we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.”
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