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David Gauke announcing the u-turn to the Work and Pensions committee.

They must think we are all really stupid.

Here’s David Gauke:

That’s right – the Universal Credit helpline will be a freephone line by the end of the year.

And the reason this is happening is concern that has been raised over the last week. In other words, this is happening because the Tories got caught charging the poor a fortune for help.

Here’s the Mirror:

Tory David Gauke has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn on the Tories’ 55p a minute Universal Credit helpline.

The Work and Pensions secretary bowed to public pressure and revealed this morning that all DWP phone lines will be made free within three months.

It comes a week after Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Prime Minister after it emerged the DWP charged claimants struggling with the bungled rollout of the benefits shake-up up to 55p a minute.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backbench rebellion on the rollout [of Universal Credit], which the Citizens Advice Bureau [has] branded a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Around 25 Tory MPs are understood to be ready to rebel in an opposition vote on Universal Credit later today.

The motion calls for the rollout to be halted until the failings in the system can be ironed out.

While the vote is non-binding, it would be an embarrassing defeat for the government.

Yes indeed – isn’t the timing interesting?

The announcement comes just before Prime Minister’s Questions, pre-empting any further attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise on the issue.

It also comes right before an Opposition Day debate in which Labour is calling for a halt to the UC rollout, in order to fix the problems.

A significant number of Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against their own government on the issue, and Labour has called on concerned Tories to support the motion, but now – well, look at this:

It would be typical of Heidi Allen if this is what happens. She is a serial complainer who raises serious issues, gets her face in the papers, then votes with her masters like a good little poodle. We can hope this is not the case with Universal Credit, but not with any confidence.

This Writer stated that we could expect an announcement of some kind, but that it would not amount to much. I pointed out: “Any such concessions are likely to be symbolic only, and unlikely to end the agony for people already consigned to the UC scrapheap. “Now we have seen it.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has made it clear that the excruciating at-least-six-week wait before anybody is paid Universal Credit will not be abolishedTories like to make the poor suffer.

But if the Tories thought they would win any brownie points for their u-turn today, they are mistaken. Labour is taking all the credit because Labour revealed the cost of the helpline last week. See:


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