Universal Credit, the system which aims to merge six benefits into one, is being rolled out in Inverness and Rugby. Despite the fact that the National Audit Office has recently reported failings and that millions of IT costs have been written off on the project, the Department for Work and Pensions has reiterated that the system will be delivered ‘on time and within budget.’
Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said: “We are introducing Universal Credit in a slow, safe and controlled way. This careful approach is working well and we’re in a strong position as we bring Universal Credit to Inverness and Rugby for the first time. Most people are claiming it online, the IT is working and comprehensive support is in place.”
Universal Credit was rolled out in Hammersmith last month and is currently running in Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The next few places to gain access to Universal Credit will be Harrogate, Bath and Shotton.
Up to April 2013 the government had spent GBP 425 million on implementing the scheme and DWP is planning to spend GBP 2.4 billion up to April 2023. GBP 303 million has been spent on contracts to design and develop IT systems.