Universal credit has made 'very little progress'

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Posted by APM on 17th Mar 2015

Universal credit has made very little progressIt has been reported that there has been “very little progress” on the Universal Credit scheme.

Despite the seven million people expected to claim Universal Credit by 2019 and claims the roll-out is ‘£600m under budget’, less than 18,000 had claimed by October 2014 according to the Public Accounts Committee.

The government advised that the programme was on track and making good progress, however Labour says Universal Credit is failing and has called for a review.

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee Labour MP Margaret Hodge said the current claims are only “0.3% of the eligible population” and “we hope the [Department for Work and Pensions] expectation that this number will rise significantly by February 2016 proves to be accurate.”

The committee has requested that the DWP explain what they have gained from their spending thus far so they can establish whether the project is proving value for money.

The report highlighted concerns over the IT infrastructure used for the programme as the existing IT system runs alongside the digital service that is being developed.

Development of the digital service had fallen back by six months and MPs said that running both services is proving to be “complicated and expensive.”

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow work and pension secretary said: “Labour wants Universal Credit to work and we’ll call the National Audit Office to do an immediate review of this failing programme to get a grip of the spiralling waste and delays.”

A spokesperson said: “Latest evidence shows its already transforming lives with Universal Credit claimants moving into work faster and earning more.”

“Universal Credit is on track and we are making progress – almost 64,000 people have made a claim and this time next year Universal Credit will be in every jobcentre in the country.”

The benefit, which rolled out beginning of February after delays, replaces six current benefits with one payment which aims to be offered in all job centres by 2016 in England, Scotland and Wales.

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