Universal Credit is Falling Apart Insiders Claim

Iain Duncan Smith’s bodged welfare reforms could be falling apart at the seams according to Whitehall insiders.

The Independent today reveals that Universal Credit is now a year behind schedule, £100 million over budget and that senior figures involved in the new benefit roll out have quit.

A government adviser on information technology is reported to have said: “IDS, like other ministers before him, has been hypnotised by promises of what an online system can deliver. Warnings were given to him more than a year ago. They were ignored.”

Universal Credit is dependent on a colossal database and IT system being created which is far more ambitious than has ever been attempted  by any country previously.  The new benefit regime will be digital by default, meaning millions of people, many of whom don’t have and can’t afford internet connections at home, will only be able to access benefits from Jobcentres and libraries.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that Universal Credit will simplify the benefits system and ensure that being in work always pays it seems that neither of these objectives are likely to be met.  Increasingly there have been warnings that many working people could be worse off under the new regime.

Already the new benefit is mired in complexity, as the reality of throwing away 50 years of steady development in welfare administration is thrown away to be replaced by Iain Duncan Smith’s increasingly crazed schemes.

Iain Duncan Smith and Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud have repeatedly announced policy off the cuff, with little thought as to whether the new systems can be made to work in reality.  Bodged proposals to deal with everything from how rent payments to supported housing such as Women’s Refuges will be administered or how free school meals will be managed have been invented on the spur of the moment with barely a thought for the practicalities.

Research which recently suggested that just under half of social housing tenants are expected to fall into budgeting difficulties and be unable to pay rent has even been presented by Lord Fraud as somehow representing good news.

The social costs when the new system is implemented are chilling.  Part time workers could be bullied by Jobcentre staff to give up their jobs in favour of temporary full time work.  Single parents with young children could be compelled to work from dawn to dusk with reduced childcare support or face sanctions which mean they are unable to feed their kids.  Sick or disabled claimants will face unprecedented harassment and brutal benefit sanctions if they are not judged to be trying hard enough to find non-existent jobs.  A combination of the new payment system and benefit caps have meant that many private landlords are saying they will no longer let to benefit claimants due to the complexity of the new plans.

Astonishingly Universal Credit won’t even save any money and is likely to cost far more to administrate than the current system.

Today’s revelations reveals that behind the scenes the implementation of Universal Credit is equally shambolic.

Whilst the new benefit system was intended to be rolled out in just next April it now seems that these will just be small pilot projects in Chesire and Manchester.  With just six months to go, The Independent claims a complete reorganisation of the complex IT system is now taking place which could add another half a billion to the cost by next Spring.

The Universal Credit programme director Malcolm Whitehouse, and the DWP’s head of IT, Steve Dover, are both reported to have left the DWP last week.  Other key staff are also claimed to have left whilst the civil servant in charge is on extended sick leave.

The small pilots which have taken place to test the IT system are reported to have reported errors in dates and payments, with one trial involving just 400 claimants being described as ‘chaotic’.

None of this is likely to stop Iain Duncan Smith whose defiant charge into political oblivion may yet drag half the country with him.  It will not just be benefit claimants who suffer as rents go unpaid, debts are defaulted on and household bills are unpaid.  With 18 million people likely to be affected by the change to Universal Credit, a bungled roll out could send the economy into meltdown.

And bungling is what Iain Duncan Smith does best as he attempts to steamroll through the welfare reforms he designed on the back of an envelope after watching an episode of Shameless.  The end result could be a shambles that dwarfs anything we’ve seen so far from this toff Government.

22 responses to “Universal Credit is Falling Apart Insiders Claim

  1. IDS reminds me of the character Vincent Price played in Witch Finder General,both cause great suffering and distress to people.They are also mentally deluded and thoroughly corrupt and evil.

    • Right on CK. The pratt doesn’t like it when he get his though huh? Boy I’d love to be a fly on the wall in his office, I’d crap on his head for starters

  2. This man has a history of failure and blunders, the very fact he was given this post and clings onto it still even after the reshuffle is only one example of his arrogance and naivity.

  3. Pingback: Universal Credit is Falling Apart Insiders Claim | Disability Issues | Scoop.it

  4. Now we can see why Cam Sham tried to bump IDS in the last reshuffle. IDS is clearly driven by his own mad ideology, and doesn’t care how much damage he might cause in the process…

    • Cameron didn’t sack him because he shares IDS’s utter contempt for the unemployed and is equally evil though Cameron makes an attempt to look more competent. Cameron is also a very weak man. Any reasonably strong an able PM would have sacked him on the spot as IDS is clearly not up to the job. Mrs Thatcher certainly would have done though Thatcher had the common sense not to attempt to ‘reform’ the welfare state when the labour market is barely in existence.

  5. ANYONE who has worked with computers. KNOWS the more complex the system the more errors and unintended problems occur. This new computer system it will have a database about everyone. this will make it a major target for criminals. All personal information in one place. 400 people in the trial is chaotic what about 5 million plus.. It would be interesting to see who got the contract to make the database, and are there any links to IDS and his think tank..

    • I was preparing to make the same point. Far too many people who do not understand how computer systems work are blind to the failings of technology. And all too often, it’s these very same VSPs who make the decision to implement untested systems — and, of course, they cannot later be held to account for their incompetence because they have ‘moved on’…

  6. I concur with the above comment. Speaking as a dude who knows a thing or two about computers, I can assure you that with their blind allegiance to Fujitsu-Siemens and Microsoft, ANY government computer system dealing with ANYTHING is in line for major fuck-ups on any day of the week.

  7. even before universal credit is implemented there is a discrepancy in how housing benefit is paid to the unemployed if they are none-dependants living in someone elses home. If you are a working son or daughter living with parents who are unemployed then they have to contribute towards rent so housing benefit is reduced for the parents depending on what the relative earns. If you are an over 35 year old son or daughter who has been forced back in with parents, are unemployed and the parents own their own home, no housing benefit is paid to the none dependant to help with running costs because you happen to be a relative.

  8. I would just like to add to my last post that although it is those in work that have their income assessed when told to contribute to housing costs, it is the tenant or mortgagee that is responsible for the rent or mortgage should their sub tenant not pay either the rent or mortgage benefit that has been withdrawn from the tenant.

  9. *IMPORTANT* Be sure to refuse Universal Jobmatch which rolls out on Nov 19th, and underpins Universal Credit:

    There is only now to say no:

    • See here for draft letter to Jobcentre Plus!

    • Universal JobMatch

      Universal Job Match will be replacing the existing system so you wont have access to the present listing on jobseekers direct At present anybody claiming JSA will most likely have as part of their JSAG that you “check jobseekers direct”. So you are going to be “mandated”/FORCED to subscribe to this Orwellian system.

  10. Ian Duncan Smith.A man out of touch with reality, out of touch with real life and real people, as he sits in his ivory tower, looking down on the less fortunate and the poor,tarnishing all single mothers with the same brush, and young people who do not have the backing and support of their family’s and end up homeless because they cannot pay their rent,it will cause chaos,sever hardship, child poverty etc..Come on David Cameron ! you are the Priminister, even the Queen opposed Universal Credit. Ian Duncan Smith is nothing more than an Arrogant , stuck up, out of touch BULLY!

  11. I really think George Lain Duncan Smith is mentally ill.He acts like a deranged psychopath,devoid of humanity.There is something very wrong with him.

    So for all our sakes.Lets hope he is carted off before his plans come to fruition.

    The problem his.most of his colleagues have the same condition.I wonder what Sigmund Freud would make of his banker son.Another deluded psychopath.

  12. if uneversal credit is a computer nightmare and millions dont get paid on time this bunch of psychos will throw a party. believe me they dont give a dam about us .roll on 2015 when we can get labour back in

    • Do you really think Labour will be any better? Where is all the opposition to this from Labour MPs in Parliament? Labour are just as guilty of having their snouts in the corporatist trough, and have already indicated that they will continue the draconian measures that IDS is introducing. You can always tell when a politician is lying; their lips move. Labour promised us lots of things in order to get elected in 1997, like that they’d renationalise British Rail, and that they’d bring in a proper Welsh Language Act in Wales to replace the joke that we have to put up with. They lied on both counts.

      Labour don’t give a damn about us either.

  13. nomatter who we vote for or not or cant because they “run out of baliot papers” in order to rig an election for a coalition that we did not vote for.
    they will eventually screw up the country.
    but id rather be under labour than that tory TWAT cameron and his liberal
    hand puppet

  14. rumours were rife that at the last election political party representatives were trying to buy votes in pubs – don’t know how true it is tho.

  15. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 2 | the void

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