Iain Duncan Smith: Universal Credit not a debacle

The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has denied claims that his welfare reform programme is a "debacle" despite admitting that over £40 million spent on IT has been written off.

Under questioning from MPs on the committee Mr Duncan Smith defended the scheme, saying "there's no debacle on Universal Credit".

ITV News' Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:

Speaking in front of MPs today, Mr Duncan Smith admitted the introduction of the new system was running late, but revealed the IT problems that initially disrupted the programme were now fixed.

Universal Credit has merged six separate means-tested benefits into just one single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

The Conservative minister admitted last week that the 2017 target for the full introduction of Universal Credit is set to be missed - with around 700,000 claimants facing a longer wait.

Read: What is Universal Credit?

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that £40.1 million had been written off on software and computing costs. Credit: PA Wire

Labour said official figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) showed only a fraction of those due to be use the new system by the time of the next general election would be transferred on time.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said the scheme was in chaos and urged Mr Duncan Smith to hold cross-party talks to rescue it.

Read: Iain Duncan Smith denies passing buck over welfare reform failures