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New welfare secretary to sack disability assessment firms

STEPHEN CRABB, the new work and pensions secretary, is seeking to tear up government contracts with private "welfare to work" contractors as part of a radical overhaul of Iain Duncan Smith's benefits revolution.

In the first sign that Crabb will make changes to the government's flagship reforms, he held a crisis meeting about the troubled universal credit on Thursday and ordered officials to come clean with him and the public about the problems.

Whitehall sources say one of Crabb's first moves will be to "get out of" problematic government contracts.

One firm under scrutiny is Maximus, which replaced Atos in providing health assessments for claimants of the employment and support allowance, the new benefit for the disabled.