Osborne insists welfare reform is morally right

GEORGE Osborne yesterday said opponents of the government’s welfare reforms were spreading “ill-informed rubbish” and insisted the vast majority of families would be better off as a result of this month’s radical changes to the welfare system.

The chancellor told workers at a Morrisons distribution centre that the policies were fair on working families and they should ignore “headline-seeking nonsense” from critics such as churches, charities and the Labour party.

Changes coming into force this month include reduced payments for people in social housing who have spare bedrooms, a reduction in council tax subsidies and a £26,000 cap on the total benefits any household can receive.

But a report released today by a group of MPs warns that the flagship universal credit policy – which will be trialled this month – could increase the risk of fraud.

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee warns that the IT system for detecting wrongful payments is “still at an early stage”. It also has concerns about the decision to pay rent directly to tenants, on the basis that some individuals could be left in arrears if they are not capable of managing their finances.