Watchdog says Universal Credit introduction was too ambitious

THE GOVERNMENT has not achieved good value for money in the implementation of its flagship Universal Credit welfare reform, according to a report released today by the spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said the programme – which will see many existing benefits combined into a single payment – has been over-ambitious and could not justify the short timeframe allocated to the massive project.

“The programme suffered from weak management, ineffective control and poor governance,” said NAO boss Amyas Morse, who insisted it could still “achieve considerable benefits” if the government learns from early setbacks.

Universal Credit is the pet project of Conservative minister Iain Duncan Smith and has already been implemented in a number of towns. But its nationwide roll-out has been delayed.