PA signed off more than £20m in Universal Credit costs

A scathing review of the Government's flagship Universal Credit scheme found that some of the IT assets that have been delivered for the programme cannot be used and so must be written off.

Initial estimates suggest the write-offs could amount to at least £140 million.

We saw evidence that purchase orders with a total value of £8.7 million were approved by a personal assistant to the Programme Director.

In another case, two purchase orders, one for £22.6 million and one for £1.1 million, were approved by a personal assistant to the Programme Director whose delegated financial authority at the time of approvals was only £10 million.

When the Department made individual payments to suppliers these could not be linked to particular pieces of work that had been delivered.

– Public Accounts Committee report

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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.