THE minister responsible for universal credit insisted she has been listening to the concerns of claimants to ensure the system delivers during a visit to Warrington.

Secretary of state for work and pensions Esther McVey spoke to guests at the Spread Eagle Hotel on Friday.

It came days after the borough's Labour councillors slammed the Government over universal credit, which has been brought in to replace six benefits with a single monthly payment for those on low incomes, or out of work.

A motion calling for council leader Cllr Terry O'Neill to write to Ms McVey to call for the further roll-out of it to be halted was carried during last Monday’s full council meeting.

Ms McVey told Warrington Conservatives that she has been listening to the concerns of claimants, constituents, charities and welfare organisations since becoming secretary of state, allowing her to make changes and adapt the new system to 'help it deliver'.

She also declared announcements in the budget, which was delivered at the end of October, would result in an additional £4.5 billion being spent over the next five years to support claimants.

Ms McVey said the Government is focused on helping people into work and up the career ladder.

"Since 2010, we've added on average 1,000 more jobs each and every day – and, despite what some in the Labour Party might say, the majority of these are full-time permanent roles," she said.

"Here in Warrington, there are 900 more people in work compared with when we moved into Government and that's something that hasn't just happened by accident."

Chairman of Warrington Conservatives Paul Campbell added: "Trapping people on benefits, preventing them from entering the opportunity of work and getting on in life and at the same time delivering a huge bill to the taxpayer is one of Labour's shameful legacies.

"People tell us that they want to see a benefits system, which supports those who really need help in Warrington, and gives a hand up the ladder to those who want to get into employment."