Iain Duncan Smith admits universal credit set to miss 2017 deadline
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Bill Payments, Housing, Local Government, Universal Credit
Iain Duncan Smith admits Universal Credit set to miss 2017 deadline
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith today admitted that the government's flasghip universal credit will not hit its 2017 deadline.
Duncan Smith said about 700,000 claimants of disability benefit will not be tranferred to the new system before the original deadline.
The announcement, made just hours before the chancellor's autumn statement, follows repeated denials from the Work and Penions Secretary that the reform would miss its timetable. He has repeatedly told MPs that the proejct is "on time and on budget".
In a press statement, the work and pensions secretary, said: "This is a once in a generation reform. And we’re going to get it right by bringing it in carefully and responsibly.
"Our approach will ensure that while we continue to enhance the IT for universal credit, we will learn from and expand the existing service, so that we fully understand how people interact with it, and how we can best support them.
"Early indications show that people are positive about the new benefit, and my department is working hard to ensure this good progress continues."
In an update on universal credit's progress, the DWP explained: "Most of the existing benefit claimants will be moved over to universal credit during 2016 and 2017. Decisions on the later stages of universal credit roll out will be informed by the completion of the enhanced IT and these decisions will determine the final details for how people transition to the new benefit."
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said: "On the morning of the autumn statement this is yet another shambolic announcement from this out-of-touch government.
"Iain Duncan Smith has today admitted what everyone has known for months - that universal credit is massively behind schedule. But just a couple of weeks ago he was telling Parliament the government would 'roll out universal credit on the plan and programme already set out'.
"It's clear that David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have completely failed to get to grips with their flagship welfare reform and millions of pounds of taxpayers' money have been written off as a result.
"Families facing a cost-of-living crisis deserve better than this."