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Minister: Benefit reform not a debacle

The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has denied the Government's flagship welfare reform programme, the Universal Credit, is a "debacle" despite admitting that more than £40 million spent on IT for the project had been written off.

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Duncan Smith to face questions over Universal Credit

Iain Duncan Smith is to be grilled by MPs over the scale of delays to the Government's flagship welfare reform - Universal Credit.

Iain Duncan Smith will appear before MPs today to answer questions over Universal Credit. Credit: Press Association

The Work and Pensions Secretary - who will appear before the Commons committee today - has admitted the 2017 target for the full introduction of Universal Credit is set to be missed - with around 700,000 claimants facing a longer wait.

But Labour said official figures showed that only a tiny fraction of the numbers due to be using the new system by the time of the next general election would be transferred on time.

Only a "handful" of the promised 1.7 million would be switched by 2014/15 and only 400,000 by the following year - less than 10% of the original target, the Opposition said.

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