Northern Ireland also expresses concerns, putting launch of flagship welfare reform in doubt

Ministers were under mounting pressure last night to slam the brakes on their radical welfare reform after the Scottish government called for a pause and their Northern Irish partners in parliament raised serious concerns.

With senior Conservative MPs privately voicing unease about the universal credit system, it emerged that the Scottish government and Scottish local councils have written to David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, demanding a halt to the rollout of the project in Scotland.

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