Universal credit is still on the amber-red warning list of the Major Projects Authority and the business case for the new benefit has still not been signed off by the Treasury, it was revealed at a public accounts committee meeting yesterday.
According to evidence given by civil servants, a ‘twin track’ approach to delivering the benefit could lead to all but £34m of a £697m IT programme being written off, if the new digital system now being trialled is a success. However, so far only 17 claimants have used the new digital system.
The Treasury says that it may be next summer before it can decide whether to sign off the business case for universal credit.
Meanwhile, Neil Couling, one of the DWP staff now in charge of universal credit told the committee he had been ‘blown away’ by how positively claimants had responded to the new benefit.
Couling previously gave evidence to the Scottish parliament that claimants welcome the ‘jolt’ of being sanctioned so much that “jobcentres across the country have been inundated with thank you cards from people who have received sanctions.”