Is there a long list of people urging a pause on Universal Credit?

Published: 18th Oct 2017

In brief


There is a very long list of people urging the Prime Minister to pause Universal Credit, including the Citizens Advice, the Trussell Trust, John Major and two dozen Conservative back benchers.


Citizens Advice and Trussell Trust have issued press releases calling for a pause, and John Major has recommended a review. The number of Conservative MPs calling for a pause is based on reports in the Telegraph.

“There is a very long list of people urging the Prime Minister to pause Universal Credit, including Citizens Advice, the Trussell Trust, John Major and, I understand, two dozen of her own Back Benchers.”

Jeremy Corbyn, 18 October 2017

Universal Credit is attempting to simplify lots of different social security benefits into one. It’s a complicated project that will affect 7 million people and there have been many difficulties. It is now five years behind schedule.

Citizens Advice called for a pause in the universal credit roll out in July, and this has since been reiterated.  

The Trussell Trust also called for a pause in September.

John Major wrote a piece in the Mail on Sunday on 7th October, suggesting that the Conservative Party review Universal Credit:

“And we must demonstrate a clear priority for the interests of the ‘have-nots’. I hope such a programme will include a review of universal credit, which, although theoretically impeccable, is operationally messy, socially unfair and unforgiving. It is time for the Conservative Party to show its heart again, which is all too often concealed by its financial prudence. We are not living in normal times and must challenge innate Conservative caution.”

Concerns from a dozen Conservative back benchers were raised in a leaked private letter to David Gauke at the end of September, reportedly calling for the rollout to be slowed.

According to the Telegraph this was led by Heidi Allen and signed by ‘around a dozen’ other MPs.  The letter has not been made publically available. On the 8th October, the Telegraph reported that that the number of opponents had risen to 25.  We have asked Ms Allen’s office to confirm.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of Prime Minister's Questions. Read the roundup.

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