THE NATIONAL Audit Office has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions, saying that its Universal Credit programme does not provide value for money.
The flagship scheme, championed by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has come under heavy scrutiny over the past few days after it emerged that £40.1m worth of IT spend has been written off as it was not fit for purpose. Duncan Smith admitted that a further £91m would be written down over the next five years. Amyas Morse, head of the NAO said that failures in the department represented “clear consequences for public value.”
At a select committee this week, the secretary of state told MPs that there was no “debacle” with the roll-out of the scheme, adding that it would be delivered on budget and on time. But Labour’s Rachel Reeves called for the Prime Minister to step in and end confusion over Universal Credit. “The long delayed DWP accounts confirm what everyone already knew: Iain Duncan Smith is in deep denial about the extent of his failure to deliver Universal Credit,” she said. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said Duncan Smith has Cameron’s full support.