Following on from the continued Universal Credit rollout shambles and after it was revealed that the Department of Work and Pensions charged 55p per minute to call the helpline, the Government announced that they were to replace the DWP helpline charge with a freephone line. This was a significant victory for the opposition after it was Corbyn who pointed out the charge in the commons.

Despite the victory, there is still a lot to change so that those affected by the current scheme's failures are put at ease, such as the 6-week delay in payments amongst other failures that could've been addressed after the pilot in Wigan.

Defeat nigh over Universal Credits?

The government look like a weary antelope who has been running away from it's predator for months on end over Universal Credits. The rollout has continued to be a disaster and to stop the charge is a significant step for the opposition. Unfortunately, there is still a charge if you want to phone about Working Tax Credits, which will be part of the Universal Credits, because this is a number run by HMRC rather than the DWP.

Furthermore, the 6-week waiting period for first payments is still in place and this is causing most claimants to fall into rental arrears. Most of the claimants are working families. The government suffered a substantial symbolic defeat after Labour forced a vote to pause the rollout of Universal Credits, winning it 299-0.

However, this was a non-binding vote.

What is more disturbing is that Theresa May knew she was going to lose and whipped her party into abstaining. Then following this declared that they didn't lose because they didn't take part. This is a complete affront to democracy itself is a complete affront to democracy itself and despite the overwhelming evidence to support pausing and fixing the problems with the scheme, Theresa May continues her persecution of the poorest in society.