Leaked Universal Credit DWP memo reveals “unworkable” IT system, amidst further setbacks

28 October 2014

The increasingly vague timetable to put more than seven million benefit claimants on the government’s flagship universal credit has again slipped back, the DWP has confirmed, whilst a leaked DWP memo from a Jobcentre Plus manager reveals on-the-ground issues with roll-out. 

The scale of technology problems with the benefit rollout was emphasised when it was revealed that only 14,170 claimants – mainly single people or childless couples – are currently on the universal credit system. As reported by the BBC, the DWP originally promised to have one million people on universal credit by April 2014, but the project has been delayed a number of times since its creation and has come under heavy fire for poor management.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith announced that most claimants will be on UC by 2018, The Guardian suggests that from 2016 to 2018, Britain will have a ‘two-tier’ welfare system with some on UC and millions not.

It has not been a postive week for Universal Credit: a channel 4 Dispatches episoderevealed a leaked memo from a Jobcentre Plus manager, sent in late September, suggesting that one of the centres where UC has been rolled out is generating such a substantial backlog of claims, centre staff will have to work three times more than their limit to clear it.

Meanwhile, Shadow secretary of state for Work and Pensions has written an open letter to Mr Duncan Smith highlighting her concerns with the new benefit.