POORER people will be hit hard as another government benefits shake-up heads for “disaster”, a Merseyside MP has warned.
Birkenhead MP Frank Field, a poverty adviser to David Cameron, raised the alarm over the looming introduction of the “universal credit”, merging range of existing benefits.
Ministers have insisted the shake-up will “make pay” by abolishing poverty traps which mean some benefit claimants lose up to 90p of every £1 they gain from taking a job.
But Mr Field said the scheme would increase means-testing, adding: “It obviously gets extra money to hard-working families who earn low wages but, in doing so, it rots the soul.
“Recipients have to be saints not to take the loss of credit payments into account when deciding whether to work longer or train.”
Among the likely losers are, say critics:
Hundreds of thousands of poorer children on free school meals.
Up to 100,000 households receiving help with childcare costs who will lose up to £4,000 a year.
But work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith told MPs 2.8m people would be better off, with 80% of those gains going to the bottom 40% of earners, adding: “That will improve their life chances dramatically.”