Word on the street is that the government’s Universal Credit pilot project is set to fail and the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee will be grilling the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and then serving him in a white wine sauce.
So far all the statistical evidence on how successful Universal Credit has been with the one percent of claimants who have been taken on board is being kept under wraps. However, it appears that under the scheme rent arrears have soared to 90 percent and that the largest landlord was moaning like crazy.
It is possible that it will cost £500m to write off the IT involved in the project.
A Channel 4 whistleblower confirmed that the IT still only works for single claimants and after four years, and £750 million spent on the project, complex cases are still done manually.
The DWP says that is not true and the project is all a box of fluffy ducks, although apparently the box is tenanted by ducks who can’t pay the rent.
Peter Fitzhenry of Warrington’s largest landlord, the Golden Gates Housing said that only one or two tenants have been offered personal budgeting support from DWP that was promised under Universal Credit. He also says that even when rent payments are received directly from DWP, they are often incorrect, or do not include the tenants’ names.
The government appears to be getting ready to blame the supplier, ATOS, and this is because the project was awarded under Labour. However, that might cause a few problems because ATOS was not a ministerial decision and was decided by the civil service. Rather than this being Labour’s fault, it might be a civil service person whose pinstriped bottom is still gracing her or his Whitehall chair.