MP’S have backed a motion asking the Government to cancel a planned cut Universal Credit (UC) for millions of families.

But the non-binding vote does not force the Government to act – and Boris Johnson is expected to ignore it.

Four Conservative MPs rebelled to support Labour’s motion and last night Tory MPs warned Boris Johnson against “hastily” reducing the benefit.

Labour asked the Government to cancel the planned cut, amid concerns it will reduce support for families by up to £1,040 per year – and MPs supported it by 253 votes to zero.

Former work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb insisted the Conservatives should be “standing on the side” of supermarket workers, cleaners and carers and said it was unclear why the Government wanted to remove the £20 per week uplift to UC.

He told MPs the “sudden, abrupt withdrawal” of the £20 uplift “is not the right way of doing welfare policy”.

Labour’s shadow treasury minister Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, said she knew the difference an extra £20 a week can make to a family.

She told MPs: “Growing up in the North East in the 1980s, I was one of those children. Not long after starting school as the winter drew in, my mam couldn’t afford a new coat for me.

“She was a single parent, money was tight and we didn’t always have much. I was kept warm by the generosity of a neighbour who himself didn’t have very much, who put some money through our door in an envelope marked ‘For Bridget’s Coat’.

“I never forgot that kindness, but I thought and I had hoped that over 30 years later we had moved on.”

She added: “Today’s debate is not about me, it is about the worried families in my community and across our country starting to think about the same horrible, painful decisions that my family faced all those years ago.

“They are not decisions I would wish on anyone, they are not decisions Conservative ministers should be forcing on anyone.”

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said: “The Chancellor’s plan to take £1,040 a year from families on Universal Credit – including 3,641 in Stockton North – is the biggest overnight cut to basic rate of social security since the Second World War and will plunge thousands of people into poverty and financial insecurity.

“Child poverty in Stockton North is 37 per cent, with around 6,802 children living in poverty. Many of these children will be in families who rely on Universal Credit to put food on their tables and the Chancellor’s plan to cut the basic rate will make their lives more difficult.

“I’m urging the Chancellor and his colleagues – including the Teesside Conservative MPs who represent constituencies with similar child poverty rates – to do the right thing and cancel this cruel cut.”

But Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “Let’s be clear about this, we are not cutting Universal Credit. We introduced a temporary uplift at the start of the pandemic to help people through the very specific and difficult circumstances of lockdown.

“Now, as those Covid measures come to an end, it follows that the temporary uplift should come to an end as well. If we were to extend the uplift indefinitely, it would cost upwards of £6billion a year.

“The only way of paying for it would be more taxes or higher borrowing – and borrowing just means higher taxes in the future.

“Instead of spending more on benefits, we want to help people into work, which is why we have doubled the number of work coaches in Job Centres to give that personalised support for people who need it. It’s jobs that help people prosper and that’s why we’re helping people back into work.”

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