Back to the drawing-board (again?) for Universal Credit


It is a testament to the ineptitude of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain ‘Sunken’ Smith that his flagship scheme has been sent back to square one – listed as “reset” by the government organisation responsible for grading its progress.

Mr… Smith (otherwise known as RTU or Returned To Unit, in tribute to a lifetime of failure) is determined that Universal Credit – which rolls all the major benefits into a single payment which the government can manipulate to make life extremely uncomfortable for claimants – will be his legacy; the achievement that marks him out for posterity.

Well, it will certainly remind us all of the man’s nature. Universal Credit has been beset with one false start after another and remains capable of handling only the simplest of tasks while promising miracles – and when it fails to deliver, its faults are explained away with implausible excuses.

The latest is that the Major Projects Authority (MPA) assessed the project last September and its judgement is out-of-date because there has been progress in implementing the scheme through pilot projects in Job Centres.

That seems about as plausible as RTU’s claim that the scheme has not written OFF £140 million of taxpayers’ money; instead the cash has been written down (meaning, it seems, that the value of the investment has been downgraded in the same way your computer is worth less now than the amount you paid for it – “the amortisation of cost over a period of time”). That’s not an acceptable answer as the money has still been spent.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider cabinet colleague Francis Maude’s claim that UC implementation has been “pretty lamentable”. The Secretary-in-a-State said this was a reference to a time before he made emergency changes to the project; changes that he did not mention to anybody – even the Commons Work and Pensions select committee, when it was investigating the project, maintaining that all was well.

In fact, this latest excuse is also among the oldest in Mr… Smith’s arsenal; it was used last year in response to the rating UC had received at the time.

The MPA rates major schemes according to a ‘traffic light’ system – green, amber or red. Universal Credit was previously marked as amber/red, meaning it was in danger of failure.

The organisation’s new report, released yesterday (Friday), possibly in an attempt to bury bad news, states: “This time last year, we rated 31 projects red or amber/red. Of these 31 projects, more than half did better this year and only one has got worse.”

You won’t get any prizes for guessing which one!

The bad news is that, despite everything, Universal Credit remains an ongoing project and will therefore continue to haemorrhage taxpayers’ pounds – that’s your hard-earned shekels – by the million.

The good news is that we can look forward to more media humiliation for Smith himself.

The man has caused more misery than anybody since Margaret Thatcher; it is right that he should face a little suffering of his own.

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21 thoughts on “Back to the drawing-board (again?) for Universal Credit

  1. jray

    “NEWS FLASH!” IDS seen wearing Ruby Red Slippers,Franticly Clicking them together and chanting “There is no place like my Wife’s Fathers Rent Free Home”

  2. Bryn miller

    How can £140 million of our money be squandered in this way without retribution.
    It’s utterly criminal.

  3. JK

    Why hasn’t IDS been sacked? Why was he brought back from the political grave to become Secretary of State for Work and Pensions? Why is he still, apparently, so popular with the Tories? It certainly is a funny old world.

  4. Mr.Angry

    I hope he rots in hell, he should be held to account and made personally liable together with his side kick Lord fraud.

      1. argotina1

        No, just shows what a clever and Machavelian politician Cameron is. Take your political rival and put them into a high profile toxic job that they are not qualified to do and are sure to fail. I think Cameron was banking on the fact that IDS simply wasn’t intellectually capable of understanding the failures of this scheme.

      2. Mike Sivier

        In that case, why did Cameron try to move him, only to be rebuffed? That made him seem a weak leader. It would have been better for him to simply leave Duncan Smith where he was.

  5. Ivan Thomas

    @JK, a couple of cabinet reshuffles ago Cameron was going to move Irritable Duncan Syndrome to another department but he insisted on staying in the DWP and Cameron just rolled over.
    I wonder what dirt he has on Cameron!

  6. jaypot2012

    Smith, alongside Fraud, McLie and others should be sacked and taken to court (paid for by themselves, not taxpayers money), where they should be jailed and made to pay all monies back to the public purse.
    As for IDS, I can’t wait to see the look on his evil face when he gets thrown out next year, or even before…

  7. Bigger Me

    There all the same,there money grabbing thieving b”””””ts,they have caused stress to a million people and death to some,need i go further.

  8. robinmcburnie

    It’ll never work!

    Programmers, by and large, are quite a logical bunch with a generally benign, often altruistic disposition.

    IDS & Co are the opposite.


    Programmers don’t deliver the anticipated means to expedite the administration of evil,

    IDS & Co try to get the software changed so it will.



    1. argotina1

      Now that they’ve brought in these immigration restrictions they are going to be finding it difficult to get cheap limited contract programmers. These jobs have in the past been filled largely by Aussies and New Zealanders on work visas. The outsourcing contractors have resigned, they are planning to do it all in house. It is already crystal clear that there is nobody at the DWP capable of administering this carbuncle of an impossible doomed project.

  9. Sheogorath

    Bad picture on this blogpost, I’m afraid to say. If I’d repurposed it, I would have left the twat’s forehead alone and put text at the bottom, saying: “This is how much a poor person’s life is worth to me.”

Comments are closed.