The Universal Credit Timebomb


Universal Credit was never going to work. Period. The whole idea was for the system to collapse and everyone on benefits would lose their money. Simples!

Benefit tales

This was to be the month when the government rolled out universal credit across the nation. Six benefits merged into one with employers keeping the tax authorities up to date with rapidly changing staff earnings on a real time computer system.

In fact the scheme has only had a full trial in the small Pennine town of Ashton Under Lyne. Recently that was cautiously extended to Warrington, Wigan and Oldham. Why the timidity by Iain Duncan Smith? After all the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions likes to turn up the volume.

What’s happened in Ashton gives us a clue. 78% of claimants needed help filling in the forms for relatively straightforward claims. The pilot schemes are not even attempting to deal with people with complex personal circumstances.

The big worry surrounds the ability of a major government computer system eventually to deal with the benefit claims of millions…

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