Former minister Stephen Crabb: Government plan to slash welfare offends everyone's sense of social justice

Ministers also need to review David Cameron's triple lock on state pension increases, he said

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Monday 21 November 2016 10:04 GMT
Stephen Crabb, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, is calling for more welfare spending on working families
Stephen Crabb, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, is calling for more welfare spending on working families

A former Conservative cabinet minister has said a plan to slash welfare “offends everyone’s sense of social justice” and called on the Government to help those affected.

Stephen Crabb said Chancellor Philip Hammond should introduce measures to “soften the blow” of cuts to Universal Credit, when he makes his Autumn Statement speech this week.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary also said the Government will have to review the pensions triple lock introduced by David Cameron, which guarantees payments rise each year, if it wants to do more to help working families.

Mr Crabb, who himself presided over cuts to some benefits while pensions secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour there was a “problem” with plans to reduce the Universal Credit.

He said: “When you look at the distributional impact for the changes from the Budget in March, there is an S-curve on the graph which basically shows that people on the lowest incomes effectively lose money from the changes, people on the highest incomes effectively gain. I think the Chancellor is going to have to have something to say about that.

“I think looking at that graph to see that people on lower incomes will be losing money offends everyone’s sense of social justice. But it doesn’t mean he needs to ‘reverse ferret’ on those proposed cuts. There are other things he can do to soften the impact of that.”

Mr Cameron had said his pensions triple lock would remain until 2020, guaranteeing pensions rise by the same as average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.

Corbyn tells Theresa May to watch I, Daniel Blake to understand benefits system

It was a key pillar of his election pitch to older voters in 2015, but it has already been questioned by a cross-party committee of MPs who branded it “unsustainable” and “unfair” on younger families suffering cuts to their welfare.

Mr Crabb said ministers should now reconsider the triple lock, arguing that it had “served its purpose”.

He added: “I think there will be a case after 2020 to look again at that, to see if we can’t rebalance our welfare spending to ensure that more goes to working families”.

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