Live updates

Universal Credit now live in seven areas of the UK

Universal Credit is now live in seven areas across the UK and will be growing to ten by spring 2014. By the end of next year, the scheme will expand to cover more of the north west.

But the Government has admitted that about 700,000 claimants of a disability benefit will not be transferred to the new Universal Credit before 2017.

The Universal Credit reforms are intended to help people back into work but the Department for Work and Pensions said its priority throughout had been the "safe and smooth" delivery of the new policy.

IDS: We're working to ensure benefit progress goes on

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said the Government is going to get Universal Credit right by bringing it in "carefully and responsibly". His comments come after he admitted the scheme may not be fully rolled out until 2017.

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 under stand 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.

– Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith


Universal Credit may not be fully rolled out until 2017

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has admitted the Government's controversial Universal Credit may not be fully rolled out until 2017, missing its original deadline.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Credit: Press Association

The new benefit, which brings together six benefits and tax credits into one, started to be rolled out in Manchester in April.

Disability claimant caught out playing cricket

A cricketer who claimed more than £22,000 in disability benefit was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence after being filmed by the Department for Work and Pensions playing for his local club.

Grandfather Stewart Lorains, 53, began claiming benefits for asthma, diabetes and an arthritic condition in 2008, saying he needed help to perform everyday tasks and even struggled to get out of bed.

But when his condition improved in 2009 he failed to tell the DWP, and played cricket for Boosbeck in the Cleveland Cricket League for three years before being found out.

Investigators filmed Lorains keeping wicket, bending over to pick up a ball and smiling in his whites. According to Boosbeck's website, from 2009 to 2012 he scored 614 runs including a high score of 64 not out.

Lorains, of St Cuthberts Walk, Liverton Mines, east Cleveland, pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances at a previous hearing. He was handed a four-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, at Teesside Crown Court.

IDS: 'No major change' to delivery of Universal Credit

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has called the shadow work secretary's comments over Universal Credit "suitably pathetic".

Mr Duncan Smith said the project would be delivered on budget and on time, adding that there was "no major change" to the delivery programme.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

He said: "When I got concerned about the delivery schedule I made changes and I intervened.

"The reality is ... that we check these programmes while they are progressing and if there are changes that need to be made, we make them.

"In making those changes, I stand by the fact that the purpose here is to deliver the programme on time and in budget, something (Labour) never did in the whole of their time in government."


IDS took the 'earliest action' over Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said problems highlighted in a report by the National Audit Office over the Government's flagship Universal Credit project were "historic" and he had intervened to sort them out.

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Breakfast:

We took the earliest action, I brought in outside people. I lost faith in the ability of civil servants to be able to manage this programme, so brought in people from outside to ensure that this programme could be delivered within the scope of how it was planned and make sure that it was delivered within budget.

That is our belief today.

IDS: Universal credit will come in on budget and on time

The introduction of Universal Credit will not come in over budget, the Work and Pensions secretary told Daybreak, despite a report which exposes a botched £34 million IT programme.

Iain Duncan-Smith was "adamant" his flagship benefit reform, which replaces Jobseekers Allowance and Child Tax Credit among others, would come in within budget and on time.

He agreed with the criticisms published in the National Audit Office (NAO) report, but said they had been identified already within the department and dealt with.

Read more: '£34m wasted' on welfare reform

Load more updates