The Liberal Democrats have fired a challenge to Conservative and Labour backbenchers to join with the party in its attempt to stop cuts to Universal Credit. Working families could lose more than £1,000 a year when the changes for new claimants come into force in April.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the first "big political battle of 2016" will be over Tory plans to cut support for working families on low incomes. The party is set to table an amendment in the House of Lords to the Government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill in a bid to repeal the planned changes.
Cuts to Universal Credit mirror the attack on Tax Credits that Liberal Democrats stopped a few months ago. Labour failed to support a Lib Dem move to spike the changes, but George Osborne still u-turned on his plans. However, the Chancellor left open the option to cut Universal Credit, which would have an almost identical impact for new claimants.
Local Islington Liberal Democrat Campaigner Terry Stacy said:
"The first big political battle of 2016 is already looming. The Liberal Democrats worked hard to stop Tax Credit cuts and we won't let the Government bring it in through the back door.
"The Prime Minister and Chancellor claim they want to make work pay, but cuts to Universal Credit will mean people pocket less of what they earn. Their actions show they simply do not care about working people on low incomes.
"The big question is, after bottling vote in the Lords to stop Tax Credits this year, will Labour finally put their money where their mouth is and support Lib Dems when we attempt to put a stop to this attack on working people?"
The amendment on Universal Credit will be laid in the Lords after the end of the Committee Stage on the Bill.