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IDS denies benefit blame claims

The Work and Pensions Secretary has denied reports he tried to blame officials for the failures in the Government's flagship benefit reform scheme. A critical report by MPs claimed at least £140m had been wasted by the Universal Credit programme.

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Report chair sidesteps questions over Tory lobbying

The chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said she had not been approached by the Work and Pensions Secretary over singling out the departments' chief civil servant in the report revealing the Universal Credit scheme "wasted £140 million."

The Times reported that Mr Duncan Smith and members of his parliamentary team approached Tory members of the PAC to ensure that the department's chief civil servant Robert Devereux was singled out for criticism.

Sidestepping the question over wider Tory lobbying, she told the BBC:

Iain Duncan Smith didn't approach me. Beyond that I can't comment.

She went on to criticise the "fortress culture" at the Department of Work and Pensions, which meant "only good news was reported and problems were denied".

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