The new benefit will now be trialled at just six Jobcentres, taking the total number involved in the new regime to ten. Crucially only newly unemployed single claimants will be transferred onto the new benefit. This means bungling DWP Ministers will have no idea how the new system will handle part time or self-employed workers, people with children, disabled people or those on low incomes.
Iain Duncan Smith has said the new regime will be rolled out to all new claimants from April 2014 – a claim which now looks like pie in the sky.
The reason for the shambles is hidden in the garbled DWP press release yesterday which announced the scaling down of the pilot scheme. Apparently ministers have decided: “that they should explore enhancing the IT for Universal Credit working with the Government Digital Service. Advancements in technology since the current system was developed have meant that a more responsive system that is more flexible and secure could potentially be built.
This would marry with the best of the existing system – which has proved viable during Pathfinder testing. Any enhanced IT solution will need to be both cost effective and deliverable to original timescales.”
Which sounds an awful lot like it’s back to the drawing board folks.
According to IT website The Register, even the miniscule Universal Credit pilot which has been taking place is proving to be a disaster. Insiders claim that due to failures in the computer system much of the information is being entered by hand. They also warn the system as it stands is ‘not scalable’ and vulnerable to being hijacked by fraudsters – and they don’t mean Lord Fraud, the inept toff in charge of some aspects of the scheme.
It is Iain Duncan Smith however who has spent hundreds of millions of pounds already on a system which doesn’t work. The same Iain Duncan Smith who has spent hundreds of millions on a Work Programme that doesn’t help people find jobs, or £16 million on the Universal Jobmatch website which is still littered with spam, scam and spoof vacancies.
Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms – which have only increased the social security bill – are starting to look like one of the most expensive farce’s in the history of the UK. As hundreds of thousands of people stare homelessness in the face due to the bedroom tax, IDS is blowing billions pursuing endless crazy schemes that all end in disaster. And it’s all perfectly timed to blow up in the Government’s face in the year running up to the next election. If only Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband weren’t such fucking idiots then that might be something to feel happy about.
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