09:40 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Charities Banned From Criticizing UK's Universal Credit System - Reports

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    Charities and companies involved in programs run by the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are bound by special contract clauses from criticizing Secretary Esther McVey, whose department is currently involved in the implementation of universal credit payment as part of efforts to streamline the social benefit system, The Times reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — At least 22 contractors have had to sign gagging clauses committing themselves to restrain from anything that could bring the secretary into disrepute, according to The Times.

    The contracts, worth some 1.8 billion pounds ($2.4 billion), reportedly stipulate that the companies who get funds from the state should "pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation" of the secretary.

    Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions denied the information, saying that the clauses were meant to protect commercially sensitive information and "understand how to interact with each other and protect their best interests," the newspaper said, citing a spokeswoman.

    READ MORE: Universal Credit 'Managed Migration' Causing Spike in Food Bank Use — Report

    Universal credit was announced by the department back in 2010, with the benefit being rolled out gradually since 2013.

    The new system replaces six other existing benefits, including job seeker’s allowance and income support, with a single payment. The reform caused certain criticism, which made McVey say on Thursday that the new payment will leave some worse off. According to media reports, it may result in some 200 pounds ($265) drop in monthly payments.


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