Tories Slam Philip Hammond On Universal Credit Reforms

But members of Hammond’s own party criticised the changes as too slight. Former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith called it a mere “downpayment” on the changes needed.

Duncan Smith had been one of Osborne’s fiercest critics over Universal Credit cuts, and finally quit over the issue. He told BBC’s Today Programme he welcomed the change in direction, but warned the Government should “continue to revisit” the issue.

Tory MP Heidi Alexander told Newsnight the cuts reversal was “not as much as I’d have liked”, and said she wished the Prime Minister “could find a better description” for the working poor than “JAMs”.

“To me, it’s something I put on my bread”, she said.

Meanwhile IPPR, a think-tank, said the change would restore just £700million-a-year of the Government’s proposed £3billion cut.

Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, also attacked the proposals, saying “the most effective way to support families would be by reversing the £3 billion cut to work allowances announced by the last Chancellor”.

“This move falls well short of the rhetoric that ‘just managing’ families have heard in recent months – giving them no jam tomorrow, let alone jam today.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the autumn statement “is set to fail our first test” to help those on low incomes.

“If all the chancellor is offering is a two per cent change in the taper rate, then it will be too little, too late for those working families who have had to bear the brunt of six wasted years of failed Tory economic policies”, he said. 

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