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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

Universal Credit could 'make or break' families

Implementing Universal Credit has the potential to make or break millions of families, the chief executive of Citizens Advice said today, after the National Audit Office revealed that had not achieved "value for money".

Citizens Advice says Universal Credit must be introduced slowly and correctly. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Gillian Guy added: "Even as Universal Credit is being rolled out, we still do not know what support will be put in place to help people to move on to the new system.

"The new benefit must be introduced slowly and correctly, not quickly and badly".

Ministers 'out of touch' on Universal Credit project

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has called for cross party talks over the Government's flagship Universal Credit project after the National Audit Office claimed that it had written off more than £30 million in failed IT.

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IDS swore blind his Universal Credit was fine. Now we learn he has completely lost control of his dept at potential cost of 100s of millions

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Incredibly three years on, out of touch ministers still don't know how Universal Credit is even supposed to work.

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Now time for David Cameron and IDS swallow their pride and agree to the cross party talks we proposed in the summer. #UniversalCredit

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Universal Credit report 'does not cover recent progress'

An assessment of the Government's flagship Universal Credit did not cover progress made since April this year, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said today, after the National Audit Office claimed that it had written off more than £30 million in failed IT.

The report does not cover the significant developments we've made since April including the go-live in Greater Manchester, our progress on the IT challenge, the latest plans for expansion from October, or the fact that we brought in two of the country's leading project management experts to lead UC.

The NAO itself concludes that Universal Credit can go on to achieve considerable benefits for society.

– Spokesman, Department for Work and Pensions

Read the full report here

Labour: Universal Credit a 'Titanic-sized IT disaster'

Labour's Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has described the Universal Credit scheme as a "Titanic-sized IT disaster" and accused the Work Secretary Iain Duncan Smith of a cover up.

Mr Duncan Smith swore blind this benefit shake-up was fine.

Now we learn he has completely lost control of his department at a potential cost of hundreds of millions of pounds.

– Liam Byrne, Shadow work and pensions secretary

Liam Byrne will speak about this on Daybreak later this morning

Universal Credit scheme suffers from 'poor governance'

The department's plans for Universal Credit were driven by an ambitious timescale, and this led to the adoption of a systems development approach new to the department.

The relatively high risk trajectory was not, however, matched by an appropriate management approach. Instead, the programme suffered from weak management, ineffective control and poor governance.

Universal Credit could well go on to achieve considerable benefits if the department learns from these early setbacks and puts realistic plans and strong discipline in place for its future roll-out.

– Amyas Morse, head of National Audit Office
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